Life is worth living as long as there’s a laugh in it.”
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
Lucy Maud Montgomery fell in love with Reverend Ewen MacDonald, the minister of the local Presbyterian Church and agreed to marry him on the stipulation that the wedding take place after her grandmother’s passing. This was in 1906; they were eventually married on June 11, 1911. In the interim, Anne of Green Gables was finally published. Maud received her first copy on June 20, 1908. It was the beginning of a prolific writing career.
On top of the six sequels to the Anne series, Maud had more than twenty novels and short stories and produced three of the miniature biographies in a volume called Courageous Women. As for her poetry, there was only one volume of collected poems that was published entitled, “The Watchman and Other Poems.”
Maud’s writing was a testament to her courageous response to a life marked by tragedy. Her marriage to the Reverend produced three children, Chester, Hugh and Stuart, but only two survived. She was devastated by the loss of Hugh, stillborn in 1914. Her husband suffered from melancholia which forced him to give up his life’s work in the mid 1930’s. And then there were the battles with her publishing company who withheld royalties and reprint rights. In the late 1930’s, Maud sustained a mental breakdown, followed by a despondency that remained until her death on April 24, 1942 at the age of sixty-eight. She rests in the Cavendish cemetery, in her beloved Prince Edward Island.
“With Tears They Buried You Today” provides insight into a resilient spirit who brought us a written legacy that continues to inspire and challenge.
With Tears They Buried You Today
By Lucy Maud Montgomery
With tears they buried you to-day,
But well I knew no turf could hold
Your gladness long beneath the mould,
Or cramp your laughter in the clay;
I smiled while others wept for you
Because I knew.
And now you sit with me to-night
Here in our old, accustomed place;
Tender and mirthful is your face,
Your eyes with starry joy are bright
Oh, you are merry as a song
For love is strong!
They think of you as lying there
Down in the churchyard grim and old;
They think of you as mute and cold,
A wan, white thing that once was fair,
With dim, sealed eyes that never may
Look on the day.
But love cannot be coffined so
In clod and darkness; it must rise
And seek its own in radiant guise,
With immortality aglow,
Making of death’s triumphant sting
A little thing.
Ay, we shall laugh at those who deem
Our hearts are sundered! Listen, sweet,
The tripping of the wind’s swift feet
Along the by-ways of our dream,
And hark the whisper of the rose
Wilding that blows.
Oh, still you love those simple things,
And still you love them more with me;
The grave has won no victory;
It could not clasp your shining wings,
It could not keep you from my side,
Dear and my bride!