John Bowring

(1792-1872 / England)

Death - Poem by John Bowring

What is it to die?-To drink
Of a yet untasted river;
To leap from a yet untrodden brink,
Which we shall revisit never.

'Tis to take a journey afar,
In a cold and murky night,
Thro' paths unknown, where moon or star
Ne'er shed a smile of light.

'Tis to sleep in a clayey cell,
With corruption for our bride;
Deaf, dumb, insensible,
Waked by no morning's tide.

'Tis to mingle with ashes and dust,
Like the meanest thing we see;
And be blown about by the windy gust,
Or dissolve in the mighty sea.

What is it to die?-'Tis nought
But to close the book of care,
Inter in the grave all troubling thought,
And rest with oblivion there.

This is the worst; for if truth
Shine in the Scripture page,
The spirit shall wear the wings of youth,
And live through an endless age.

It shall bathe in the living streams
Round the gardens of heaven that flow;
And revel in light, whose dazzling beams
Disperse all the mists of woe.

Like a star in a cloudless night,
Pure and sublime shall it be-
Fairer than noontide's presence bright-
Fixed as eternity.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, September 21, 2010

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