'The Churchyard'


From the autograph album of Maria Beadnell (November 1831).


Dickens, Charles


Autograph Album of Maria Beadnell.



Bibliographic Citation

Dickens, Charles. 'The Churchyard.' Autograph Album of Maria Beadnell (November 1831). Dickens Search. Eds. Emily Bell and Lydia Craig. Accessed [date]. https://dickenssearch.com/verse/1831-11_Autograph_Album_of_Maria_Beadnell_The_Churchyard.


How many tales these Tombstones tell
Of life's e'er changing scene,
Of by gone days spent ill or well
By those who gay have been;
Who have been happy, rich, and vain,
Who now are dead, and cold,
Who've gone alike to dust again
The rich, poor, young, and old.

Here lies a Man who lived to save
Of Wordly gain a store;
– It has not saved him from the grave
He ne'er can use it more.
A marble Tablet tells his fame
To those who shall survive;
– It tells us not who blest his name
While he remained alive.

Now mark the contrast.
– Near this mound
Lie the remains of one
With whom no fault was ever found,
Who spotless as the sun
Fulfilled his Christian duties here,
Both cheerfully and well
But no rich velvet deck'd his Bier
No lines his virtues tell.

And is it so! Is man so vain,
To riches such a Slave
As to take his pride of gold, and gain
E'en with him to the Grave! –
Why let him take it. – Let him see
If 'twill avail him there,
Where we must all one dread day be,
Where all Men must appear.

Here sleeps a girl. – A year ago
Bright, beautiful, and gay,
Peaceful, and happy, then but Oh!
How soon such days decay:
They changed to times of shame and brief
And this the mournful token
Death was to her a glad relief
For her young heart was broken.

Aye – broken. – Let the Roué smile
And let him boldly speed
Exulting in his shameless guile
To boast of such a deed.
Let him boast gaily among men
– They'll hear without surprize
And let him boast if he can when
On his death bed he lies.

In truth it is a manly deed
With woman's heart to trifle,
To break the bent and bruised reed
And with neglect to stifle
The feelings man himself has raised
Which he can't prize too high. –
To leave the object he has praised
Alone to weep and die.

But why pursue this painful theme
Or longer here remain
The dead sleep sound; they cannot dream
Of sorrow, grief, or pain.
From Man to GOD they will appeal
Where no man can dissemble
There will the wronged for justice kneel
There will the Tyrant tremble.