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About this poet

Albert Bigelow Paine was born on July 10, 1861, in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Known for his close connection with Mark Twain, he was the author of the four-volume Mark Twain: A Biography (Harper & Brothers, 1912), as well as several travel books, children’s books, and other biographies. A member of the Pulitzer Prize Committee, he was also awarded the title of Chevalier in the French government’s Legion of Honor.  He died on April 9, 1937.

In Louisiana

Albert Bigelow Paine, 1861 - 1937

The long, gray moss that softly swings
   In solemn grandeur from the trees,
   Like mournful funeral draperies,--
A brown-winged bird that never sings.

A shallow, stagnant, inland sea,
   Where rank swamp grasses wave, and where
   A deadliness lurks in the air,--
A sere leaf falling silently.

The death-like calm on every hand,
   That one might deem it sin to break,
   So pure, so perfect,--these things make
The mournful beauty of this land.

This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.

Albert Bigelow Paine

Albert Bigelow Paine was born on July 10, 1861, in New Bedford, Massachusetts.