John Henry Newman

(21 February 1801 – 11 August 1890 / London, England)

Consolations in Bereavement


Death was full urgent with thee, Sister dear,
And startling in his speed;—
Brief pain, then languor till thy end came near—
Such was the path decreed,
The hurried road
To lead thy soul from earth to thine own God's
abode.

Death wrought with thee, sweet maid, impatiently:—
Yet merciful the haste
That baffles sickness;—dearest, thou didst die,
Thou wast not made to taste
Death's bitterness,
Decline's slow-wasting charm, or fever's fierce
distress.

Death came unheralded:—but it was well;
For so thy Saviour bore
Kind witness, thou wast meet at once to dwell
On His eternal shore;
All warning spared,
For none He gives where hearts are for prompt change
prepared.

Death wrought in mystery; both complaint and cure
To human skill unknown:—
God put aside all means, to make us sure
It was His deed alone;
Lest we should lay
Reproach on our poor selves, that thou wast caught
away.

Death urged as scant of time:—lest, Sister dear,
We many a lingering day
Had sicken'd with alternate hope and fear,
The ague of delay;
Watching each spark
Of promise quench'd in turn, till all our sky was
dark.

Death came and went:—that so thy image might
Our yearning hearts possess,
Associate with all pleasant thoughts and bright,
With youth and loveliness;
Sorrow can claim,
Mary, nor lot nor part in thy soft soothing name.

Joy of sad hearts, and light of downcast eyes!
Dearest thou art enshrined
In all thy fragrance in our memories;
For we must ever find
Bare thought of thee
Freshen this weary life, while weary life shall be.

Submitted: Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Edited: Thursday, May 24, 2012

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