I marked a lonely grave among
The mansions of the dead,
Where slept an humble child of Song,
His notes forever fled,
Save when their echoes gently stole
Back to the haunts where he
Poured forth the music of his soul
In numbers wild and free.
I knew it was the Poet's grave,
Although no sculptured stone,
Nor urn, nor towering column, gave
His memory its own.
Some loved one, who had known his worth,
Unable to do more,
Had smoothed the rugged mound of earth
And turf'd it greenly o'er.
The sauntering crowd passed rudely by
That lovely place of rest,
To view the marble piled on high
Above the rich man's breast;
But they forgot the wealth of love
That lives when gold and stone
Have perished from the earth above
And left the dust alone.
They knew not that the form laid nigh
By lowly, loving hands,
In memory's mystic alchemy
Would turn to golden sands;
For had they felt one throb that stirred
The loving hearts that knew
The Poet's grave, their ears had heard
His lingering music, too.
July 8, 2012
final poem was published in a Tennessee newspaper. He was 71 years old. Though he wrote and published poetry throughout much of his life, he never released a book of his verse. Over a decade after his death, his daughter Alice J. Drew attempted to collect as much as she could, though many of his manuscripts were destroyed by the great Jacksonville fire in 1901. Among those that survived was "The Poet's Grave," originally published in 1842: