An Evening Guest
IF, in the silence of this lonely eve,
With the street lamp pale flickering on the wall,
An angel were to whisper me, 'Believe--
It shall be given thee. Call!'--whom should I call?
And then I were to see thee gliding in
Clad in known garments, that with empty fold
Lie in my keeping, and my fingers, thin
As thine were once, to feel in thy safe hold:
'I should fall weeping on thy neck and say,
'I have so suffered since--since--' But my tears
Would stop, remembering how thou count'st thy day
A day that is with God a thousand years.
Then what are these sad days, months, years of mine,
To thine eternity of full delight?
What my whole life, when myriad lives divine
May wait, each leading to a higher height?
I lose myself--I faint. Beloved, best,
Let me still dream, thy dear humanity
Sits with me here, my head upon thy breast,
And then I will go back to heaven with thee.
On The Cliff-Top
FACE upward to the sky
Quiet I lie:
Quiet as if the finger of God's will
Had bade this human mechanism 'be still!'
And sent the intangible essence, this strange I,
All wondering forth to His eternity.
Below, the sea's sound, faint
As dying saint
Telling of gone-by sorrows long at rest:
Above, the fearless sea-gull's shimmering breast
Painted a moment on the dark blue skies--
A hovering joy, that while I watch it flies.
Alike unheeded now
Old griefs, and thou
Quick-wingèd Joy, that like a bird at play
Pleasest thyself to visit me to-day:
On the cliff-top, earth dim and heaven clear,
My soul lies calmly, above hope--or fear.
But not--(do Thou forbid
Whose stainless lid
Wept tears at Lazarus' grave, and looking down
Afar off, upon Solyma's doomed town.)
Ah, not above love--human yet divine--
Which, Thee seen first, in Thee sees all of Thine!
Is't sunset? The keen breeze
Blows from the seas:
And at my side a pleasant vision stands
With her brown eyes and kind extended hands.
Dear, we'll go down together and full fain
From the cliff-top to the busy world again.
Until Her Death
UNTIL her death!' the words read strange yet real,
Like things afar off suddenly brought near:--
Will it be slow or speedy, full of fear,
Or calm as a spent day of peace ideal?
Will her brown locks lie white on coffin pillow?
Will these her eyes, that sometime were called sweet,
Close, after years of dried-up tears, or meet
Death's dust in midst of weeping? And that billow,--
Her restless heart,--will it be stopped, still heaving?
Or softly ebb 'neath age's placid breath?
Will it be lonely, this mysterious death,
Fit close unto her solitary living,--
A turning of her face to the wall, nought spoken,
Exchanging this world's light for heaven's;--or will
She part in pain, from warm love to the chill
Unknown, pursued with cries of hearts half-broken?
With fond lips felt through the blind mists of dying,
And close arms clung to in the struggle vain;--
Or, these all past, will death to her be gain,
Unto her life's long question God's replying?
No more. Within his hand, divine as tender,
He holds the mystic measure of her days;
And be they few or many, His the praise,--
In life or death her Keeper and Defender.
Then, come He soon or late, she will not fear Him;
Be her end lone or loveful, she'll not grieve;
For He whom she believed in--doth believe--
Will call her from the dust, and she will hear Him.
WE clutch our joys as children do their flowers;
We look at them, but scarce believe them ours,
Till our hot palms have smirched their colors rare
And crushed their dewy beauty unaware.
But the wise Gardener, whose they were, comes by
At hours when we expect not, and with eye
Mournful yet sweet, compassionate though stern,
Then in a moment we discern
By loss, what was possession, and, half-wild
With misery, cry out like angry child:
'O cruel! thus to snatch my posy fine!'
He answers tenderly, 'Not thine, but mine,'
And points to those stained fingers which do prove
Our fatal cherishing, our dangerous love;
At which we, chidden, a pale silence keep;
Yet evermore must weep, and weep, and weep.
So on through gloomy ways and thorny brakes,
Quiet and slow, our shrinking feet he takes
Let by the soilèd hand, which, laved in tears,
More and more clean beneath his sight appears.
At length the heavy eyes with patience shine--
'I am content. Thou took'st but what was thine.'
And then he us his beauteous garden shows,
Where bountiful the Rose of Sharon grows:'
Where in the breezes opening spice-buds swell,
And the pomegranates yield a pleasant smell:
While to and fro peace-sandalled angels move
In the pure air that they--not we--call Love:
An air so rare and fine, our grosser breath
Cannot inhale till purified by death.
And thus we, struck with longing joy, adore,
And, satisfied, wait mute without the door,
Until the gracious Gardener maketh sign,
'Enter in peace. All this is mine--and thine.'
In The Junetwilight
IN the June twilight, in the soft gray twilight,
The yellow sun-glow trembling through the rainy eve,
As my love lay quiet, came the solemn fiat,
'All these things forever--forever--thou must leave.'
My love she sank down quivering, like a pine in tempest shivering--
'I have had so little happiness as yet beneath the sun:
I have called the shadow sunshine, and the merest frosty moonshine
I have, weeping, blessed the Lord for, as if daylight had begun;
'Till He sent a sudden angel, with a glorious sweet evangel,
Who turned all my tears to pearl-gems, and crowned me--so little worth;
Me!--and through the rainy even changed my poor earth into heaven,
Or, by wondrous revelation, brought the heavens down to earth.
'O the strangeness of the feeling!--O the infinite revealing--
To think how God must love me to have made me so content!
Though I would have served Him humbly, and patiently, and dumbly,
Without any angel standing in the pathway that I went.'
In the June twilight--in the lessening twilight--
My love cried from my bosom an exceeding bitter cry:
'Lord, wait a little longer, until my soul is stronger,--
O, wait till Thou hast taught me to be content to die.'
Then the tender face, all woman, took a glory superhuman,
And she seemed to watch for something, or see some I could not see:
From my arms she rose full statured, all transfigured, queenly featured--
'As Thy will is done in heaven, so on earth still let it be.'
* * * * *
I go lonely, I go lonely, and I feel that earth is only
The vestibule of palaces whose courts we never win:
Yet I see my palace shining, where my love sits, amaranths twining,
And I know the gates stand open, and I shall enter in.
MY Friend wears a cheerful smile of his own,
And a musical tongue has he;
We sit and look in each other's face,
And are very good company.
A heart he has, full warm and red
As ever a heart I see;
And as long as I keep true to him,
Why, he'll keep true to me.
When the wind blows high and the snow falls fast
And we hear the wassailers' roar--
My Friend and I, with a right good-will
We bolt the chamber door:
I smile at him and he smiles at me
In a dreamy calm profound,
Till his heart leaps up in the midst of him
With a comfortable sound.
His warm breath kisses my thin gray hair
And reddens my ashen cheeks;
He knows me better than you all know,
Though never a word he speaks:--
Knows me as well as some had known
Were things--not as things be.
But hey, what matters? my Friend and I
Are capital company.
At dead of night, when the house is still,
He opens his pictures fair;
Faces that are, that used to be,
And faces that never were:
My wife sits sewing beside my hearth,
My little ones frolic wild,
Though--Lilian's married these twenty years,
And I never had a child.
But hey, what matters? When those who laugh
May weep to-morrow, and they
Who weep be as those that wept not--all
Their tears long wiped away.
I shall burn out, like you, my Friend,
With a bright warm heart and bold,
That flickers up to the last--then drops
Into quiet ashes cold.
And when you flicker on me, old Friend,
In the old man's elbow-chair,
Or--something easier still, where we
Lie down, to arise up fair
And young, and happy--why then, my Friend,
Should other friends ask of me,
Tell them I lived and loved and died
In the best of all company.
By The Alma River
WILLIE, fold your little hands;
Let it drop, that 'soldier' toy:
Look where father's picture stands,--
Father, who here kissed his boy
Not two months since,--father kind,
Who this night may--Never mind
Mother's sob, my Willie dear,
Call aloud that He may hear
Who is God of battles, say,
'O, keep father safe this day
By the Alma river.'
Ask no more, child. Never heed
Either Russ, or Frank, or Turk,
Right of nations or of creed,
Chance-poised victory's bloody work:
Any flag i' the wind may roll
On thy heights, Sebastopol;
Willie, all to you and me
Is that spot, where'er it be,
Where he stands--no other word!
Stands--God sure the child's prayer heard--
By the Alma river.
Willie, listen to the bells
Ringing through the town to-day.
That's for victory. Ah, no knells
For the many swept away,--
Hundreds--thousands! Let us weep,
We who need not,--just to keep
Reason steady in my brain
Till the morning comes again,
Till the third dread morning tell
Who they were that fought and fell
By the Alma river.
Come, we'll lay us down, my child,
Poor the bed is, poor and hard;
Yet thy father, far exiled,
Sleeps upon the open sward,
Dreaming of us two at home:
Or beneath the starry dome
Digs out trenches in the dark,
Where he buries--Willie, mark--
Where he buries those who died
Fighting bravely at his side
By the Alma river.
Willie, Willie, go to sleep,
God will keep us, O my boy;
He will make the dull hours creep
Faster, and send news of joy,
When I need not shrink to meet
Those dread placards in the street,
Which for weeks will ghastly stare
In some eyes--Child, sy thy prayer
Once again; a different one:
Say, 'O God, Thy will be done
By the Alma river.'
SMALL wren, mute pecking at the last red plum
Or twittering idly at the yellowing boughs
Fruit-emptied, over thy forsaken house,--
Birdie, that seems to come
Telling, we too have spent our little store,
Our summer's o'er:
Poor robin, driven in by rain-storms wild
To lie submissive under household hands
With beating heart that no love understands,
And scarèd eye, like a child
Who only knows that he is all alone
And summer's gone;
Pale leaves, sent flying wide, a frightened flock
On which the wolfish wind bursts out, and tears
Those tender forms that lived in summer airs
Till, taken at this shock,
They, like weak hearts when sudden grief sweeps by,
Whirl, drop, and die:--
All these things, earthy, of the earth--do tell
This earth's perpetual story; we belong
Unto another country, and our song
Shall be no mortal knell;
Though all the year's tale, as our years run fast,
Mourns, 'summer's past.'
O love immortal, O perpetual youth,
Whether in budding nooks it sits and sings
As hundred poets in a hundred springs,
Or, slaking passion's drouth,
In wine-press of affliction, ever goes
Heavenward, through woes:
O youth immortal--O undying love!
With these by winter fireside we'll sit down
Wearing our snows of honor like a crown;
And sing as in a grove,
Where the full nests ring out with happy cheer,
'Summer is here.'
Roll round, strange years; swift seasons, come and go;
Ye leave upon us but an outward sign;
Ye cannot touch the inward and divine,
While God alone does know;
There sealed till summers, winters, all shall cease
In His deep peace.
Therefore uprouse ye winds and howl your will;
Beat, beat, ye sobbing rains on pane and door;
Enter, slow-footed age, and thou, obscure,
Grand Angel--not of ill;
Healer of every wound, where'er thou come,
Glad, we'll go home.
LITTLE white clouds, why are you flying
Over the sky so blue and cold?
Fair faint hopes, why are you lying
Over my heart like a white cloud's fold?
Slender green leaves, why are you peeping
Out of the ground where the snow yet lies?
Toying west wind, why are you creeping
Like a child's breath across my eyes?
Hope and terror by turns consuming,
Lover and friend put far from me,--
What should I do with the bright spring, coming
Like an angel over the sea?
Over the cruel sea that parted
Me from mine own, and rolls between;--
Out of the woful east, whence darted
Heaven's full quiver of vengeance keen.
Day teaches day, night whispers morning--
'Hundreds are weeping their dead, while thou
Weeping thy living--Rise, be adorning
Thy brows, unwidowed, with smiles.'--But how?
O, had he married me!--unto anguish,
Hardship, sickness, peril, and pain;
That on my breast his head might languish
In lonely jungle or scorching plain;
O, had we stood on some rampart gory,
Till he--ere Horror behind us trod--
Kissed me, and killed me--so, with his glory
My soul went happy and pure to God!
Nay, nay, Heaven pardon me! me, sick-hearted,
Living this long, long life-in-death:
Many there are far wider parted
Who under one roof-tree breathe one breath.
But we that loved--whom one word half broken
Had drawn together close soul to soul
As lip to lip--and it was not spoken,
Nor may be while the world's ages roll.
I sit me down with my tears all frozen:
I drink my cup, be it gall or wine:
For I know, if he lives, I am his chosen--
I know, if he dies, that he is mine.
If love in its silence be greater, stronger
Than million promises, sighs, or tears--
I will wait upon Him a little longer
Who holdeth the balance of our years.
Little white clouds, like angels flying,
Bring the spring with you across the sea--
Loving or losing, living or dying,
Lord, remember, remember me!
The Cathedral Tombs
THEY lie, with upraised hands, and feet
Stretched like dead feet that walk no more,
And stony masks oft human sweet,
As if the olden look each wore,
Familiar curves of lip and eye,
Were wrought by some fond memory.
All waiting: the new-coffined dead,
The handful of mere dust that lies
Sarcophagused in stone and lead
Under the weight of centuries:
Knight, cardinal, bishop, abbess mild,
With last week's buried year-old child.
After the tempest cometh peace,
After long travail sweet repose;
These folded palms, these feet that cease
From any motion, are but shows
Of--what? What rest? How rest they? Where?
The generations naught declare.
Dark grave, unto whose brink we come,
Drawn nearer by all nights and days;
Each after each, thy solemn gloom
We pierce with momentary gaze,
Then go, unwilling or content,
The way that all our fathers went.
Is there no voice or guiding hand
Arising from the awful void,
To say, 'Fear not the silent land;
Would He make aught to be destroyed?
Would He? or can He? What know we
Of Him who is Infinity?
Strong Love, which taught us human love,
Helped us to follow through all spheres
Some soul that did sweet dead lips move,
Lived in dear eyes in smiles and tears,
Love--once so near our flesh allied,
That 'Jesus wept' when Lazarus died;--
Eagle-eyed Faith that can see God,
In worlds without and heart within;
In sorrow by the smart o' the rod,
In guilt by the anguish of the sin;
In everything pure, holy, fair,
God saying to man's soul, 'I am there';--
These only, twin-archangels, stand
Above the abyss of common doom,
These only stretch the tender hand
To us descending to the tomb,
Thus making it a bed of rest
With spices and with odors drest.
So, like one weary and worn, who sinks
To sleep beneath long faithful eyes,
Who asks no word of love, but drinks
The silence which is paradise--
We only cry--'Keep angelward,
And give us good rest, O good Lord!'
AUTUMN to winter, winter into spring,
Spring into summer, summer into fall,--
So rolls the changing year, and so we change;
Motion so swift, we know not that we move.
Till at the gate of some memorial hour
We pause--look in its sepulchre to find
The cast-off shape that years since we called 'I'--
And start, amazed. Yet on! We may not stay
To weep or laugh. All which is past, is past
Even while we gaze the simulated form
Drops into dust, like many-centuried corpse
At opening of a tomb.
Alack, this world
Is full of change, change, change,--nothing but change!
Is there not one straw in life's whirling flood
To hold by, as the torrent sweeps us down,
Us, scattered leaves; eddied and broken; torn
Roughly asunder; or in smooth mid-stream
Divided each from other without pain;
Collected in what looks like union,
Yet is but stagnant chance,--stopping to rot
By the same pebble till the tide shall turn;
Then on, to find no shelter and no rest,
Forever rootless and forever lone.
O God, we are but leaves upon Thy stream,
Clouds on Thy sky. We do but move across
The silent breast of Thy infinitude
Which bears us all. We pour out day by day
Our long, brief moan of mutability
To Thine immutable--and cease.
Our change yearns after Thine unchangedness;
Our mortal craves Thine immortality;
Our manifold and multiform and weak
Imperfectness, requires the perfect ONE.
For Thou art ONE, and we are all of Thee;
Dropped from Thy bosom, as Thy sky drops down
Its morning dews, which glitter for a space,
Uncertain whence they fell, or whither tend,
Till the great Sun arising on his fields
Upcalls them all, and they rejoicing go.
So, with like joy, O Light Eterne, we spring
Thee-ward, and leave the pleasant fields of earth,
Forgetting equally its blossomed green
And its dry dusty paths which drank us up
Remorseless,--we, poor humble drops of dew,
That only wish to freshen a flower's breast,
And be exhaled to heaven.
O Thou supreme
All-satisfying and immutable One,
It is enough to be absorbed in Thee
And vanish,--though 't were only to a voice
That through all ages with perpetual joy
Goes evermore loud crying, 'God! God! God!'
Lost In The Mist
THE thin white snow-streaks pencilling
That mountain's shoulder gray,
While in the west the pale green sky
Smiled back the dawning day,
Till from the misty east the sun
Was of a sudden born
Like a new soul in Paradise--
How long it seems since morn!
One little hour, O round red sun,
And thou and I shall come
Unto the golden gate of rest,
The open door of home:
One little hour, O weary sun,
Delay the threatened eve
Till my tired feet that pleasant door
Enter and never leave.
Ye rooks that fly in slender file
Into the thick'ning gloom,
Ye'll scarce have reached your grim gray tower
Ere I have reached my home;
Plover, that thrills the solitude
With such an eerie cry,
Seek you your nest ere night-fall comes,
As my heart's nest seek I.
O light, light heart and heavy feet,
Patience a little while!
Keep the warm love-light in these eyes,
And on these lips the smile:
Out-speed the mist, the gathering mist
That follows o'er the moor!--
The darker grows the world without
The brighter seems that door.
O door, so close yet so far off;
O mist that nears and nears!
What, shall I faint in sight of home?
Blinded--but not with tears--
'T is but the mist, the cruel mist,
Which chills this heart of mine:
These eyes, too weak to see that light--
It has not ceased to shine.
A little further, further yet:
The white mist crawls and crawls;
It hems me around, it shuts me in
Its great sepulchral walls:
No earth--no sky--no path--no light--
A silence like the tomb:
O me, it is too soon to die--
And I was going home!
A little further, further yet:
My limbs are young,--my heart--
O heart, it is not only life
That feels it hard to part:
Poor lips, slow freezing into calm,
Numbed hands that helpless fall,
And, a mile off, warm lips, fond hands,
Waiting to welcome all!
I see the pictures in the room,
The figures moving round,
The very flicker of the fire
Upon the patterned ground:
O that I were the shepherd-dog
That guards their happy door!
Or even the silly household cat
That basks upon the floor!
O that I sat one minute's space
Where I have sat so long!
O that I heard one little word
Sweeter than angel's song!
A pause--and then the table fills,
The harmless mirth brims o'er;
While I--O can it be God's will?--
I die, outside the door.
My body fails--my desperate soul
Struggles before it go:
The bleak air's full of voices wild,
But not the voice I know;
Dim shapes come wandering through the dark:
With mocking, curious stares,
Faces long strange peer glimmering by--
But not one face of theirs.
Lost, lost, and such a little way
From that dear sheltering door!
Lost, lost, out of the loving arms
Left empty evermore!
His will be done. O, gate of heaven,
Fairer than earthly door,
Receive me! Everlasting arms,
Enfold me evermore!
And so, farewell * * * * *
What is this touch
Upon my closing eyes?
My name too, that I thought to hear
Next time in Paradise?
Warm arms--close lips--O, saved, saved, saved!
Across the deathly moor
Sought, found--and yonder through the night
Shineth the blessed door.
Only A Woman
"She loves with love that cannot tire:
And if, ah, woe! she loves alone,
Through passionate duty love flames higher,
As grass grows taller round a stone."
SO, the truth's out. I 'll grasp it like a snake, --
It will not slay me. My heart shall not break
Awhile, if only for the children's sake.
For his too, somewhat. Let him stand unblamed;
None say, he gave me less than honor claimed,
Except -- one trifle scarcely worth being named --
The heart. That 's gone. The corrupt dead might be
As easily raised up, breathing -- fair to see,
As he could bring his whole heart back to me.
I never sought him in coquettish sport,
Or courted him as silly maidens court,
And wonder when the longed-for prize falls short.
I only loved him -- any woman would:
But shut my love up till he came and sued,
Then poured it o'er his dry life like a flood.
I was so happy I could make him blest!
So happy that I was his first and best,
As he mine -- when he took me to his breast.
Ah me! If only then he had been true!
If for one little year, a month or two,
He had given me love for love, as was my due!
Or had he told me, ere the deed was done,
He only raised me to his heart's dear throne --
Poor substitute -- because his queen was gone!
O, had he whispered, when his sweetest kiss
Was warm upon my mouth in fancied bliss,
He had kissed another woman even as this, --
It were less bitter! Sometimes I could weep
To be thus cheated, like a child asleep: --
Were not my anguish far too dry and deep.
So I built my house upon another's ground;
Mocked with a heart just caught at the rebound --
A cankered thing that looked so firm and sound.
And when that heart grew colder -- colder still,
I, ignorant, tried all duties to fulfil,
Blaming my foolish pain, exacting will,
All -- anything but him. It was to be:
The full draught others drink up carelessly
Was made this bitter Tantalus-cup for me.
I say again -- he gives me all I claimed,
I and my children never shall be shamed:
He is a just man -- he will live unblamed.
Only -- O God, O God, to cry for bread,
And get a stone! Daily to lay my head
Upon a bosom where the old love's dead!
Dead? -- Fool! It never lived. It only stirred
Galvanic, like an hour-cold corpse. None heard:
So let me bury it without a word.
He 'll keep that other woman from my sight.
I know not if her face be foul or bright;
I only know that it was his delight --
As his was mine: I only know he stands
Pale, at the touch of their long-severed hands,
Then to a flickering smile his lips commands,
Lest I should grieve, or jealous anger show.
He need not. When the ship 's gone down, I trow,
We little reck whatever wind may blow.
And so my silent moan begins and ends.
No world's laugh or world's taunt, not pity of friends
Or sneer of foes with this my torment blends.
None knows -- none heeds. I have a little pride;
Enough to stand up, wife-like, by his side,
With the same smile as when I was a bride.
And I shall take his children to my arms;
They will not miss these fading, worthless charms;
Their kiss -- ah! unlike his -- all pain disarms.
And haply, as the solemn years go by,
He will think sometimes with regretful sigh,
The other woman was less true than I.
IT is near morning. Ere the next night fall
I shall be made the bride of heaven. Then home
To my still marriage chamber I shall come,
And spouseless, childless, watch the slow years crawl.
These lips will never meet a softer touch
Than the stone crucifix I kiss; no child
Will clasp this neck. Ah, virgin-mother mild,
Thy painted bliss will mock me overmuch.
This is the last time I shall twist the hair
My mother's hand wreathed, till in dust she lay:
The name, her name, given on my baptism-day,
This is the last time I shall ever bear.
O weary world, O heavy life, farewell!
Like a tired child that creeps into the dark
To sob itself asleep, where none will mark,--
So creep I to my silent convent cell.
Friends, lovers whom I loved not, kindly hearts
Who grieve that I should enter this still door,
Grieve not. Closing behind me evermore,
Me from all anguish, as all joy, it parts.
Love, whom alone I loved; who stand'st far off,
Lifting compassionate eyes that could not save,
Remember, this my spirit's quiet grave
Hides me from worldly pity, worldly scoff.
'T was less thy hand than Heaven's which came between,
And dashed my cup down. See, I shed no tears:
And if I think at all of vanished years,
'T is but to bless thee, dear, for what has been.
My soul continually does cry to thee;
In the night-watches ghost-like stealing out
From its flesh tomb, and hovering thee about;
So live that I in heaven thy face may see!
Live, noble heart, of whom this heart of mine
Was half unworthy. Build up actions great,
That I down looking from the crystal gate
Smile o'er our dead hopes urned in such a shrine.
Live, keeping aye they spirit undefiled,
That, when we stand before our Master's feet,
I with an angel's love may crown complete
The woman's faith, the worship of the child.
Dawn, solemn bridal morn; ope, bridal door;
I enter. My vowed soul may Heaven take;
My heart its virgin spousal for thy sake;
O love, keeps sacred thus forevermore.
THE SISTER OF MERCY.
IS it then so?--Good friends, who sit and sigh
While I lie smiling, are my life's sands run?
Will my next matins, hymned beyond the sun,
Mingle with those of saints and martyrs high?
Shall I with these my gray hairs turned to gold,
My aged limbs new clad in garments white,
Stand all transfigured in the angels' sight,
Singing triumphantly that moan of old,--
Thy will be done? It was done. O my God,
Thou know'st, when over grief's tempestuous sea
My broken-wingèd soul fled home to Thee,
I writhed, but never murmured at Thy rod.
It fell upon me, stern at first, then soft
As parent's kisses, till the wound was healed;
And I went forth a laborer in Thy field:--
They best can bind who have been bruisèd oft.
And Thou wert pitiful. I came heart-sore,
And drank Thy cup because earth's cups ran dry:
Thou slew'st me not for that impiety,
But madest the draught so sweet, I thirst no more.
I came for silence, heavy rest, or death:
Thou gavest instead life, peace, and holy toil:
My sighing lips from sorrow didst assoil,
And fill with righteous thankfulness each breath.
Therefore I praise Thee that Thou shuttest Thine ears
Unto my misery: didst Thy will, not mine:
That to this length of days Thy hand divine,
My feet from falling kept, mine eyes from tears.
Sisters, draw near. Hear my last words serene:
When I was young I walked in mine own ways,
Worshipped--not God: sought not alone His praise;
So he cut down my gourd while it was green.
And then He o'er me threw His holy shade,
That though no other mortal plants might grow,
Mocking the beauty that was long laid low,
I dwelt in peace, and His commands obeyed.
I thank Him for all joy and for all pain:
For healèd pangs, for years of calm content:
For blessedness of spending and being spent
In His high service where all loss is gain.
I bless Him for my life and for my death;
But most, that in my death my life is crowned,
Since I see there, with angels gathering round,
My angel. Ay, love, thou hast kept thy faith,
I mine. The golden portals will not close
Like those of earth, between us. Reach thy hand!
No miserere, sisters. Chant out grand
Te Deum laudamus. Now,--'t is all repose.