William Stanley Braithwaite
On The Death Of Thomas Bailey Aldrich - Poem by William Stanley Braithwaite
(March 19, 1907)
What sudden bird will bring us any cheer
Whose song in the chill dawn gives hope
Can we be glad to give it welcoming
Though April in its music be so near?
Not while the burden of our memories bear
The weight of silence that we know will cling
About the lips that nevermore will sing
The heart of him with visions voiced so clear.
There is a pause in meeting before speech
Between men who have fed their souls with song;
The strangeness of an echo beyond reach
Cleaves silence deep for speech to pass along.
There are no words to tell the loss, but each
Of our hearts feels the sorrow deep and strong.
The Wondersmith in vocables is dead!
The Builder of the palaces of rhyme
Shall build no more his music out of Time.
In the deep, breathless peace to which he fled
He sits with Landor s hands upon his head
Watching our suns and stars that sink and climb
Between him and our tears continuous chime ---
Sorrowing for his presence vanished.
Aldrich is dead! but the glory of his life
Is in his song, and this will keep his name
Safe above change and the assaults of strife.
Poet, whose artistry, his constant aim
Kept true above defections that were rife,
Death taking him, still leaves his deathless fame.
March 20, 21, 1907.
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