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For the cross and the crown are won,
The winds of spring
Sweet songs may bring
Through the half-unfolded leaves of May;
But the breeze of spring
Hath no such thing
As the musical sounds that run
Where the anthem note by God is given,
And the martyrs sing,
And the angels ring t
With the cymbals of highest Heaven.
In Heaven above, and on earth beneath,
In the holy place where dead men sleep,
In the silent sepulchres of death,
Where angels over the bodies keep
Their cheerful watch till the second breath
Into the Christian dust shall creep—
In heights, and depths, and darkest caves,
In the unlit green of the ocean waves—
In fields where battles have been fought,
Dungeons where murders have been wrought -
The shock and the thrill of life have run:
The reign of the Holy is begun!
There is labour and unquietness
In the very sands of the wilderness,
In the place where rivers ran.
Where the simoon blast hath fiercely past
O'er the midnight caravan.
From sea to sea, from shore to shore,
Earth travails with her dead once more.
In one long, endless, filing crowd,
Apostles, Martyrs, Saints have gone,
Where behind yon screen of cloud
The Master is upon His throne!
Only we are left alone!
Left in this waste and desert place,
Far from our natural home;
Left to complete our weary race
Until His kingdom come.
O, my God! that we could be
Among that shining company!
But once a year with solemn hand
The Church withdraws the veil,
And there we see that other land,
Far in the distance pale.
While good church bells are loudly ringing
All on the earth below,
And white-robed choirs with angels singing,
Where stately organs blow:
And up and down each holy street
Faith hears the tread of viewless feet,
Such as in Salem walk'd, when He
Had gotten Himself the victory.
So be it ever year by year,
Until the Judge himself be here!
F. W. Faber
EPITAPH IN WORCESTER CATHEDRAL
If Heavenly flowers might bloom unharm'd on earth,
And gales of Eden still their balm bestow, Thy gentle virtues rich in purest worth,
Might yet have linger'd in our vale below;
Loved daughter, sister, friend: we saw awhile
Thy meek-eyed modesty which loved the shade,
Thy faithfulness which knew nor change, nor guile,
Thy heart like incense on God's altar laid.
But He whose spirit breathes the air divine,
That gives to souls their loveliness and grace,
Soonest embowers pure faithful hearts like thine
In His own Paradise, their blissful place.
THE HAPPY DEAD
'Tis folly all that can be said,
By living mortals, of the immortal dead.
Tis as if we who stay behind
In expectation of the wind,
Should pity those who pass'd this strait before
And touch the universal shore.
Ah, happy man, who art to sail no more!
EPITAPH UPON HUSBAND AND WIFE
Who died and were buried together
To these, whom death again did wed,
This grave's the second marriage bed,
For though the hand of fate could force
'Twixt soul and body a divorce,
It could not sever man and wife,
Because they both lived but one life.
Peace, good reader, do not weep,
Peace, the lovers are asleep!
They (sweet turtles) folded lie,
In the last knot love could tie.
Let them sleep, let them sleep on,
Till this stormy night be gone,
And the eternal morrow dawn;
Then the curtains will be drawn,
And they wake into a light,
Whose day shall never end in night.
ELEGY ON THE DEATH OF ADDISON
What mourner ever felt poetic fires? Slow comes the verse that real love inspires: Grief unaffected suits but ill with art, Or flowing numbers with a bleeding heart. Can I forget the dismal night that gave My soul's best part for ever to the grave! How silent did his old companions tread! By midnight lamps the mansions of the dead; Through breathing statues, then unheeded things, Through rows of warriors, and through walks of
kings! What awe did the slow solemn knell inspire; The pealing organ, and the pausing choir; The duties by the lawn-rob'd prelate paid; And the last words that dust to dust conveyed! While speechless o'er thy closing grave we bend, Accept these tears thou dear departed friend.
O, gone for ever! take this long adieu;
And sleep in peace next thy lov'd Montague.
Oft let me range the gloomy aisles alone,
Sad luxury to vulgar minds unknown,
Along the walls, where speaking marbles show
What worthies form the hallow'd mould below
Proud names, who once the reins of empire held
In arms who triumph'd; or in arts excell'd;
Chiefs grand with scars, and prodigal of blood;
Stern patriots who for sacred freedom stood.
Just men by whom imperial laws were given,
And saints who taught, and led the way to heaven;
Ne'er to these chambers where the mighty rest,
Since their foundation, came a nobler guest;
Nor e'er was to the bowers of bliss convey'd
A fairer spirit, or more welcome shade.
Take them, O Death! and bear away
Whatever thou canst call thine own!
Thine image, stamp'd upon this clay,
Doth give thee that, but that alone!
Take them, O Grave! and let them lie
Folded upon thy narrow shelves,
As garments by the soul laid by,
And precious only to ourselves!
Take them, O great Eternity!
Our little life is but a gust,
That bends the branches of thy tree,
And trails its blossoms in the dust!
H. W. Longfellow