Nicholas Michell

But deeper, holier thoughts the bosom fill,
As now we thread those trees, and climb the hill:
The Elysian Fields — Ah! yes, the ancients sought
The loveliest spots to rest, as though they thought
The soul would feel delight to know her clay,
'Mid scenes of beauty, dreamed its term away.
Around us whiten tombs, the homes of those
Who once swayed earth — how still their last repose!
The small sunk pillar, quaintly-sculptured stone,
Where Charon's boat, and Hades' gods are shown,
Mingle with crosses raised to saints of yore,
For Pagans, Christians, here are foes no more:
Fancy might almost deem the magic calm
Of earth and heaven steals o'er their graves like balm;
The fragrant airs that kiss the flowers to rest,
The golden day that dies along the West,
The mourner willow bending as in sleep,
The viewless dews that skies of twilight weep —
How flits the notion through the musing brain!
E'en for the dead can these exist in vain?

The Alyscamps is the great Roman necropolis at Arles. It was one of the most famed in the ancient world.