A Celebration of Women Writers

"The Queen of Prussia's Tomb" by Felicia Hemans (1793-1835) Records of Woman: With Other Poems. Edinburgh: William Blackwood, & London: T. Cadell, 1828, second edition. pp. 150-154.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom


[Page 150] 

THE QUEEN OF PRUSSIA'S TOMB.


"This tomb is in the garden of Charlottenburgh, near Berlin. It was not without surprise that I came suddenly, among trees, upon a fair white Doric temple. I might, and should have deemed it a mere ornament of the grounds, but the cypress and the willow declare it a habitation of the dead. Upon a sarcophagus of white marble lay a sheet, and the outline of the human form was plainly visible beneath its folds. The person with me reverently turned it back, and displayed the statue of his Queen. It is a portrait-statue recumbent, said to be a perfect resemblance–not as in death, but when she lived to bless and be blessed. Nothing can be more calm and kind than the expression of her features. The hands are folded on the bosom; the limbs are sufficiently crossed to show the repose of life. Here the King brings her children annually, to offer garlands at her grave. These hang in withered mournfulness above this living image of their departed mother."–SHERER's Notes and Reflections during a Ramble in Germany.


[Page 151] 

THE QUEEN OF PRUSSIA'S TOMB.


In sweet pride upon that insult keen
She smiled; then drooping mute and broken-hearted,
To the cold comfort of the grave departed.
                                                                    MILMAN.

IT stands where northern willows weep,
  A temple fair and lone;
Soft shadows o'er its marble sweep,
  From cypress-branches thrown;
While silently around it spread,
Thou feel'st the presence of the dead.

[Page 152] 

And what within is richly shrined?
  A sculptur'd woman's form,
Lovely in perfect rest reclined,
  As one beyond the storm:
Yet not of death, but slumber, lies
The solemn sweetness on those eyes.

The folded hands, the calm pure face,
  The mantle's quiet flow,
The gentle, yet majestic grace,
  Throned on the matron brow;
These, in that scene of tender gloom,
With a still glory robe the tomb.

There stands an eagle, at the feet
  Of the fair image wrought;
A kingly emblem–nor unmeet
  To wake yet deeper thought:
She whose high heart finds rest below,
Was royal in her birth and wo.

[Page 153] 

There are pale garlands hung above,
  Of dying scent and hue;–
She was a mother–in her love
  How sorrowfully true!
Oh! hallow'd long be every leaf,
The record of her children's grief!

She saw their birthright's warrior-crown
  Of olden glory spoil'd,
The standard of their sires borne down,
  The shield's bright blazon soil'd:
She met the tempest meekly brave,
Then turn'd o'erwearied to the grave.

She slumber'd; but it came–it came,
  Her land's redeeming hour,
With the glad shout, and signal flame
  Sent on from tower to tower!
Fast thro' the realm a spirit moved–
'Twas hers, the lofty and the loved.

[Page 154] 

Then was her name a note that wrung
  To rouse bold hearts from sleep;
Her memory, as a banner flung
  Forth by the Baltic deep;
Her grief, a bitter vial pour'd
To sanctify th' avenger's sword.

And the crown'd eagle spread again
  His pinion to the sun;
And the strong land shook off its chain–
  So was the triumph won!
But wo for earth, where sorrow's tone
Still blends with victory's!–She was gone! *


[Page 154]

* Originally published in the Monthly Magazine.

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Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom