A Freemason’s Epitaph near Bagdad
Tread softly here, or pause to breathe
A pray’r for him who sleeps beneath,
Tho’ savage hands in silence spread
The nameless sand that hides the dead;
Yet here, as wand’ring Arabs tell,
A guardian spirit loves to dwell!
’Tis said, such gentle spirits seek
The tears on widow’d Beauty’s cheek,
And bring those precious drops to lave
The sainted Pilgrim’s secret grave.
Tread softly—tho’ the tempest blows
Unheeded o’er his deep repose,
Tho’ now the sun’s relentless ray
Has parch’d to dust this holy clay,
The spirit in this clay enshrin’d
Once mounted swifter than the wind—
Once look’d, O Sun! beyond thy sphere,
Then dar’d to measure thy career,
And rose above this earth as far
As comets pass the meanest star.
Tread softly!—’midst this barren sand
Lie relics of a bounteous hand
That hand, if living, would have prest
Thee, wand’ring stranger, to his breast,
And fill’d the cup of gladness here
Thy dark and dreary path to cheer—
O spare this dust!—it once was part
Of one all-kind, all-bounteous heart!
If yet with vital warmth it glow’d,
On thee its bounty would have flow’d.
Tread softly—on this sacred mound
The badge of Brotherhood is found!
Revere the signet—in his breast
Its holiest virtue was confess’d—
He only liv’d on earth to prove
The fullness of a Brother’s love.
If in thy bosom dwells the sign
Of Charity and Love divine,
Give to this grave a duteous tear,
Thy friend, thy brother slumbers here.