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Felicia Dorothea Hemans

(25 September 1793 – 16 May 1835 / Liverpool, England)

The Farewell To The Dead


Come near!-ere yet the dust
Soil the bright paleness of the settled brow,
Look on your brother, and embrace him now,
In still and solemn trust!
Come near!-once more let kindred lips be press'd
On his cold cheek; then bear him to his rest!

Look yet on this young face!
What shall the beauty, from amongst us gone,
Leave of its image, ev'n where most it shone,
Gladdening its hearth and race?

Dim grows the semblance on man's heart impress'd-
-Come near, and bear the beautiful to rest!

Ye weep, and it is well!
For tears befit earth's partings!-Yesterday
Song was upon the lips of this pale clay,
And sunshine seem'd to dwell
Where'er he mov'd-the welcome and the bless'd!
-Now gaze! and bear the silent unto rest!

Look yet on him, whose eye
Meets yours no more, in sadness or in mirth!
Was he not fair amidst the sons of earth,
The beings born to die?
-But not where death has power may love be bless'd--
Come near! and bear ye the belov'd to rest!

How may the mother's heart
Dwell on her son, and dare to hope again?
The spring's rich promise hath been given in vain,
The lovely must depart!
Is he not gone, our brightest and our best?
Come near! and bear the early-call'd to rest!

Look on him! is he laid
To slumber from the harvest or the chase?
-Too still and sad the smile upon his face,
Yet that, ev'n that, must fade!
Death holds not long unchang'd his fairest guest,-
Come near! and bear the mortal to his rest!

His voice of mirth hath ceas'd
Amidst the vineyards! there is left no place
For him whose dust receives your vain embrace,
At the gay bridal feast!
Earth must take earth to moulder on her breast;
Come near! weep o'er him! bear him to his rest!

Yet mourn ye not as they
Whose spirit's light is quench'd!-for him the past
Is seal'd. He may not fall, he may not cast
His birthright's hope away!
All is not here of our belov'd and bless'd-
-Leave ye the sleeper with his God to rest!

Submitted: Thursday, April 08, 2010

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