They tell me, Lucy, thou art dead,
That all of thee we loved and cherished
Has with thy summer roses perished;
And left, as its young beauty fled,
An ashen memory in its stead,
The twilight of a parted day
Whose fading light is cold and vain,
The heart's faint echo of a strain
Of low, sweet music passed away.
That true and loving heart, that gift
Of a mind, earnest, clear, profound,
Bestowing, with a glad unthrift,
Its sunny light on all around,
Affinities which only could
Cleave to the pure, the true, and good;
And sympathies which found no rest,
Save with the loveliest and best.
Of them--of thee--remains there naught
But sorrow in the mourner's breast?
A shadow in the land of thought?
No! Even my weak and trembling faith
Can lift for thee the veil which doubt
And human fear have drawn about
The all-awaiting scene of death.
Even as thou wast I see thee still;
And, save the absence of all ill
And pain and weariness, which here
Summoned the sigh or wrung the tear,
The same as when, two summers back,
Beside our childhood's Merrimac,
I saw thy dark eye wander o'er
Stream, sunny upland, rocky shore,
And heard thy low, soft voice alone
Midst lapse of waters, and the tone
Of pine-leaves by the west-wind blown,
There's not a charm of soul or brow,
Of all we knew and loved in thee,
But lives in holier beauty now,
Baptized in immortality!
Not mine the sad and freezing dream
Of souls that, with their earthly mould,
Cast off the loves and joys of old,
Unbodied, like a pale moonbeam,
As pure, as passionless, and cold;
Nor mine the hope of Indra's son,
Of slumbering in oblivion's rest,
Life's myriads blending into one,
In blank annihilation blest;
Dust-atoms of the infinite,
Sparks scattered from the central light,
And winning back through mortal pain
Their old unconsciousness again.
No! I have friends in Spirit Land,
Not shadows in a shadowy band,
Not others, but themselves are they.
And still I think of them the same
As when the Master's summons came;
Their change,--the holy morn-light breaking
Upon the dream-worn sleeper, waking,--
A change from twilight into day.
They 've laid thee midst the household graves,
Where father, brother, sister lie;
Below thee sweep the dark blue waves,
Above thee bends the summer sky.
Thy own loved church in sadness read
Her solemn ritual o'er thy head,
And blessed and hallowed with her prayer
The turf laid lightly o'er thee there.
That church, whose rites and liturgy,
Sublime and old, were truth to thee,
Undoubted to thy bosom taken,
As symbols of a faith unshaken.
Even I, of simpler views, could feel
The beauty of thy trust and zeal;
And, owning not thy creed, could see
How deep a truth it seemed to thee,
And how thy fervent heart had thrown
O'er all, a coloring of its own,
And kindled up, intense and warm,
A life in every rite and form,
As. when on Chebar's banks of old,
The Hebrew's gorgeous vision rolled,
A spirit filled the vast machine,
A life, 'within the wheels' was seen.
Farewell! A little time, and we
Who knew thee well, and loved thee here,
One after one shall follow thee
As pilgrims through the gate of fear,
Which opens on eternity.
Yet shall we cherish not the less
All that is left our hearts meanwhile;
The memory of thy loveliness
Shall round our weary pathway smile,
Like moonlight when the sun has set,
A sweet and tender radiance yet.
Thoughts of thy clear-eyed sense of duty,
Thy generous scorn of all things wrong,
The truth, the strength, the graceful beauty
Which blended in thy song.
All lovely things, by thee beloved,
Shall whisper to our hearts of thee;
These green hills, where thy childhood roved,
Yon river winding to the sea,
The sunset light of autumn eves
Reflecting on the deep, still floods,
Cloud, crimson sky, and trembling leaves
Of rainbow-tinted woods,
These, in our view, shall henceforth take
A tenderer meaning for thy sake;
And all thou lovedst of earth and sky,
Seem sacred to thy memory.
They tell me, Lucy, thou art dead,