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Littell's Living Age/Volume 169/Issue 2181/The Dying Christian

"Qu'entends-je? Autour de moi l'airain sacré resonne?"

What sounds are these? Why tolls that solemn bell?
     What sobs, what prayers of mourners do I hear?
What mean those tapers pale, that chanted knell?
     Dost thou, O Death, thus whisper in mine ear
For the last time? On the grave's brink I break
     My earthly slumbers; and to life awake!

Soul, spark most precious of a flame divine,
     Immortal dweller in a frame that dies,
Hush these alarms: for freedom shall be thine.
     Break from thy fetters: on thy wings arise
To quit the load of mortal misery, —
     Is that, O timid soul ! is that — to die?

Yes, Time hath ceased my hours and days to tell.
     Ye sun-orbed heralds, in what mansions bright
Will your high guidance usher me to dwell?
     E'en now, e'en now, I bathe in floods of light,—
The earth beneath me flees, — before my face
     Unfolds the infinite expanse of space.

But hark! what vain laments, what choking sighs,
     At this last moment agitate my sense?
Comrades in exile, why should dirges rise
     For him who homeward now is passing hence?
You weep! While I, by Heaven absolved and blest,
     Enter with joy the port of halcyon rest!