Imatges de pàgina

Poems on Death.



THE wind has swept from the wide atmosphere
Each vapour that obscured the sunset's ray;
And pallid evening twines its beaming hair
In duskier braids around the languid eyes of day:
Silence and twilight, unbeloved of men,

Creep hand in hand from yon obscurest glen.

They breathe their spells towards the departing day,
Encompassing the earth, air, stars, and sea;
Light, sound, and motion own the potent sway,
Responding to the charm with its own mystery.
The winds are still, or the dry church-tower grass
Knows not their gentle motions as they pass.

Thou too, aërial Pile! whose pinnacles
Point from one shrine like pyramids of fire,
Obeyest in silence their sweet solemn spells,

Clothing in hues of heaven thy dim and distant spire,
Around whose lessening and invisible height
Gather among the stars the clouds of night.

The dead are sleeping in their sepulchres :
And, mouldering as they sleep, a thrilling sound.
Half sense, half thought, among the darkness stirs,

Breathed from their wormy beds all living things around,
And mingling with the still night and mute sky
Its awful hush is felt inaudibly.

Thus solemnised and softened, death is mild
And terrorless as this serenest night:

Here could I hope, like some enquiring child

Sporting on graves, that death did hide from human


Sweet secrets, or beside its breathless sleep

That loveliest dreams perpetual watch did keep.



YE hasten to the dead! What seek ye there,
Ye restless thoughts and busy purposes

Of the idle brain, which the world's livery wear?
O thou quick Heart which pantest to possess
All that anticipation feigneth fair!

Thou vainly curious mind which wouldest guess
Whence thou didst come, and whither thou mayst go,
And that which never yet was known wouldst know—
Oh, whither hasten ye that thus ye press

With such swift feet life's green and pleasant path, Seeking alike from happiness and woe

A refuge in the cavern of grey death?

O heart, and mind, and thoughts! What thing do you Hope to inherit in the grave below ?


LIFT not the painted veil which those who live
Call Life though unreal shapes be pictured there,
And it but mimic all we would believe

With colours idly spread,-behind, lurk Fear
And Hope, twin destinies; who ever weave
Their shadows, o'er the chasm, sightless and drear.
I knew one who had lifted it—he sought,
For his lost heart was tender, things to love,
But found them not, alas! nor was there aught
The world contains, the which he could approve.
Through the unheeding many he did move,
A splendour among shadows, a bright blot
Upon this gloomy scene, a Spirit that strove
For truth, and like the Preacher found it not.


THE rude wind is singing
The dirge of the music dead,
The cold worms are clinging
Where kisses were lately fed.

THE babe is at peace within the womb,
The corpse is at rest within the tomb,
We begin in what we end.


OLD winter was gone

In his weakness back to the mountains hoar,
And the spring came down

From the planet that hovers upon the shore
Where the sea of sunlight encroaches

On the limits of wintry night ;

If the land, and the air, and the sea
Rejoice not when spring approaches,
We did not rejoice in thee,

She is still, she is cold

On the bridal couch,

One step to the white death-bed,

And one to the bier,

And one to the charnel-and one, O where ?

The dark arrow fled

In the noon.

Ere the sun through heaven once more has rolled,

The rats in her heart

Will have made their nest,

And the worms be alive in her golden hair,

While the spirit that guides the sun,

Sits throned in his flaming chair,
She shall sleep.


FALSE friend, wilt thou smile or weep
When my life is laid asleep?
Little cares for a smile or a tear,
The clay-cold corpse upon the bier!
Farewell! Heigho!

What is this whispers low?

There is a snake in thy smile, my dear; And bitter poison within thy tear.

Sweet sleep, were death like to thee,
Or if thou couldst mortal be,
I would close these eyes of pain ;
When to wake? Never again.
O, World! Farewell!

Listen to the passing bell!

It says, thou and I must part,
With a light and a heavy heart.

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