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Dante Gabriel Rossetti

(12 May 1828 – 9 April 1882 / London / England)

Sacred To the Memory of Algernon R. G. Stanhope


“THE silver cord is loosed,” he said,
“The golden bowl is broken;
A few more prayers having been prayed,
A few more love-words spoken,
I shall turn my face unto the wall,
And sleeping, not be woken.”
“Is it a better place, my child,
That thou art gone unto?
Upon this earth that thou hast left
Hadst thou not much to do?
Would not thy joys have been a crowd
And thy troubles small and few?
“Beauty and rank and friends and wealth,
Genius and excellence,—
Could not all these, thy heritage,
Win thee from hastening hence?
Was the soul so much more unto thee
Than joys of mind and sense?
“And, bending with an English grace,
The ladies of our isle,
With their soft curls and their virgin eyes
Which look so sweet the while,
Had given thee for thy nobleness
A precious golden smile.
“These will not now be thine: thy life's
Appointed period
Being past o'er, thou liest on
The folded pinions broad
Of the Seraph who is bearing thee
Up through the sun to God.
“It has a solemn sound—‘to God’;
And strange high thoughts it weaves
Of a garden where the Tree of Life
Its mystic shadow gives,
And the music of the rapid worlds
Is the wind that stirs the leaves.
“Surely, it is a better place:
Wealth shuts not there his ken
From woes his heart yearns to assuage;
Nor noble origin
Wounds him by lessening trust betwixt
Him and his fellow-men.
“Nor friends die from him, but instead
Come to him where he is;
Nor Passion, rank with evil joys
And worse satieties,
Pouting her crimson lips at him
Layeth her cheek to his.
“Nor priests be there, like a bad dream
That at your bed's foot stands
All night (and yet it goes at last);
Nor moans of king-curst lands
Make his breast heave and his pale brow
To drop into his hands.
“But Love walks always with him now;
And Faith, not chained but free;
And Hope, bent forward, and with hair
Held back continually
To hear the distant chariot-wheels;
And wise calm Charity.”

Submitted: Monday, April 12, 2010

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