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The Conquerors Grave

WITHIN this lowly grave a Conqueror lies  
And yet the monument proclaims it not  
Nor round the sleeper's name hath chisel wrought 
The emblems of a fame that never dies ¡ª 
Ivy and amaranth in a graceful sheaf 5 
Twined with the laurel's fair imperial leaf.
A simple name alone To the great world unknown Is graven here and wild-flowers rising round Meek meadow-sweet and violets of the ground 10 Lean lovingly against the humble stone.
Here in the quiet earth they laid apart No man of iron mould and bloody hands Who sought to wreak upon the cowering lands The passions that consumed his restless heart; 15 But one of tender spirit and delicate frame Gentlest in mien and mind Of gentle womankind Timidly shrinking from the breath of blame: One in whose eyes the smile of kindness made 20 Its haunt like flowers by sunny brooks in May Yet at the thought of others' pain a shade Of sweeter sadness chased the smile away.
Nor deem that when the hand that moulders here Was raised in menace realms were chilled with fear 25 And armies mustered at the sign as when Clouds rise on clouds before the rainy East¡ª Gray captains leading bands of veteran men And fiery youths to be the vulture's feast.
Not thus were waged the mighty wars that gave 30 The victory to her who fills this grave; Alone her task was wrought Alone the battle fought; Through that long strife her constant hope was staid On God alone nor looked for other aid.
35 She met the hosts of Sorrow with a look That altered not beneath the frown they wore And soon the lowering brood were tamed and took Meekly her gentle rule and frowned no more.
Her soft hand put aside the assaults of wrath 40 And calmly broke in twain The fiery shafts of pain And rent the nets of passion from her path.
By that victorious hand despair was slain.
With love she vanquished hate and overcame 45 Evil with good in her Great Master's name.
Her glory is not of this shadowy state Glory that with the fleeting season dies; But when she entered at the sapphire gate What joy was radiant in celestial eyes! 50 How heaven's bright depths with sounding welcomes rung And flowers of heaven by shining hands were flung! And He who long before Pain scorn and sorrow bore The Mighty Sufferer with aspect sweet 55 Smiled on the timid stranger from his seat; He who returning glorious from the grave Dragged Death disarmed in chains a crouching slave.
See as I linger here the sun grows low; Cool airs are murmuring that the night is near.
60 O gentle sleeper from thy grave I go Consoled though sad in hope and yet in fear.
Brief is the time I know The warfare scarce begun; Yet all may win the triumphs thou hast won.
65 Still flows the fount whose waters strengthened thee The victors' names are yet too few to fill Heaven's mighty roll; the glorious armory That ministered to thee is open still.

Poem by William Cullen Bryant
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