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After toiling oft in vain,
Baffled, yet to struggle fain,
After toiling long to gain
Little good with weary pain,
Let me rest. But lay me low
Where the hedge-side roses blow,
Where the little daisies grow,
Where the winds a-maving go,
Where the foot-path rustics plod,
Where the breeze-bowed poplars nod,
Where the old woods worship God,
Where his pencil paints the sod,
Where the wedded throstle sings,
Where the young bird tries his wings,
Where at times the tempests roar,
Shaking distant sea and shore,
To be heard by me no more!
There beneath the breezy west,
Tired and thankful, let me rest
Like a child that sleepeth best
On its mother's gentle breast.
Dead! Do you say that he is dead?
Take back the word, it is not true!
An empty cage, you might have said,
Has lost the singer that we knew The song rose level with the stars, That charmed us even in prison bars.
But dead? There can be no such word
For that which was serenely bright,
Made in the image of the Lord,
An effluence from the central light,
An inbreathed essence from on high,
A heaven-lit spark! that could not die.
Not dead but free he soars above
The limit of our lesser scope,
And we, because we shared his love,
May cherish the uplifting hope
That life to us is more, by just
His altitude above our dust.
More by the power he has attained
To minister as angels may;
More by the knowledge he has gained
Of love's supremest, patient way;
Of blessing through the cloud or sun,
So one all-perfect Will be done.
And he (the thought is radiant) he
This very moment may be near,
With solace meted soothingly
To feed a hope or hush a fear :
So true it is, divinest things
Come borne to us on hidden wings.
So well we knew our Father's care
Hovers about us, night and day,
So sweet it is to think the air
Is moved in a mysterious way
By breath of one beloved on earth
Grown lovelier by celestial birth.
Then say not he is of the dead,
'Tis only we in cerements dim,
Who fail of life around, o'erhead;
But say it nevermore of him
Whom death to livelier joys has called,
Who lives among us disenthralled.
Mary B. Dodge.
The Conqueror's Grave. Within this lowly grave a conqueror lies, And yet the monument proclaims it not.
A simple name alone,
To the great world unknown,
Is graven here, and wild-flowers rising round,
Meek meadow-sweet, and violets of the ground,
Lean lovingly against the humble stone.
Here in the quiet earth, they laid apart
No man of iron mould and bloody hands, But one of tender spirit and delicate frame;
Gentlest in mien and mind
Of gentle womankind,
Timidly shrinking from the breath of blame:
One in whose eyes the smile of kindness made
Its haunt, like flowers by sunny brooks in May;
Yet at the thought of others' pain a shade
Of sweeter sadness chased the smile away.
Nor deem that when the hand that moulders here
Was raised in menace, realms were chilled with fear.
Not thus were waged the mighty wars that gave ·
The victory to her who fills this grave :
Alone her task was wrought,
Alone the battle fought;
Through that long strife her constant hope was staid
On God alone, nor looked for other aid.
She met the hosts of Sorrow with a look
That altered not beneath the frown they wore, And soon the lowering brood were tamed, and took,
Meekly, her gentle rule and frowned no more. Her soft hand put aside the assaults of wrath,
And calmly broke in twain
The fiery shafts of pain,
And rent the nets of passion from her path.
By that victorious hand dispair was slain ;
With love she vanquished hate and overcame
Evil with good in her great Master's name.
O gentle sleeper, from thy grave I go
Consoled, though sad, in hope and yet in fear.
Brief is the time, I know,
The warfare scarce begun;
Yet all may win the triumphs thou hast won.
Still flows the fount whose waters strengthened thee;
The victors' names are yet too few to fill
Heaven's mighty roll; the glorious armory, That ministered to thee, is open still.
William C. Bryant.
Straight and still the baby lies,
No more smiling in his eyes,
Neither tears nor wailing cries.
Smiles and alike are done;
He has need of neither one
Only, I must weep alone.
Tiny fingers, all too slight,
Hold within their grasping tight,
Waxen berries scarce more white.
Nights and days of weary pain
I have held them close
- in vain; Now I never shall again.
Crossed upon a silent breast,
By no suffering distressed,
Here they lie in marble rest.
They shall ne'er unfolded be,
Never more in agony
Cling so pleadingly to me.
Yearning sore, I only know
I am very full of woe -
And I want my baby so !
Weary heart, that thou should'st prove
So unworthy of the love
Which thy darling doth remove !