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Henry Abbey

(11 July 1842 - 7 June 1911 / Kingston, NY)

Flos Morti


Maiden, whom I so briefly knew
That unto me thou art a dream,
A lovely vision lost to view
Across the dark, relentless stream,

They bring thee final gifts, and one,
A broken lyre of fragrance deep,
Is symbol of thy life, undone
By that cold hand whose clasp gives sleep.

They bring thee flowers, who wert a flower
Above the lily and the rose.
The fading tribute of an hour
I also bring to thy repose.

This flower of rhyme, this petaled song,
I give to death, I bring to thee
Whose soul was raised and borne along
By mystic tides of poësy.

Thou wert thyself a poem true,
A lasting joy to know and read;
The manuscript is torn in two;
The rhythmic strain is mute indeed.

So oft, through flowery paths of song,
Sweet angels led thy thoughts to range
The immaterial world along,
That heaven can not to thee be strange.

For not to verse wert thou impelled
By love for praise; but by the stir
Of voices that within thee welled,
And by the strength of character.

O loveliness with eyes like night!
We should not call thee to return
From out the darkness that is light,
To where our lamps of being burn.

For long and thankless is the path
Wherein thy tender feet were set;
Thou shalt not know the briers it hath
On heights beclouded with regret.

On thee Old Age shall lay no hand,
Friends shall not turn from thee away,
Nor shall Temptation near thee stand,
Or Disappointment say thee nay.

From Life thou took'st thy rose of youth,
Which at the beaker's brim was hung;
And in the Heart of love and truth
Thou shalt abide, forever young.

Not less with us thou still shalt dwell;
For it is beautiful to be
Enshrined in hearts that love thee well,
A blest and grateful memory.

Submitted: Thursday, April 26, 2012

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