Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 7/The death of Rachel

THE DEATH OF RACHEL.

 
And it came to pass as her soul was in departing, that she called his name Ben-oni. And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem.—Gen. xxxv. 18.
 

Bring me Benoni, bring the son of sorrow,
Let him lie gently on his mother’s breast,
Help me to hold him to my heart. To-morrow
My soul will sink to rest.

What strange mysterious magic in this meeting!
Lo! while I watch his pure and even breath,
My waning life’s faint pulses wildly beating,
Seem struggling against death.

Nay, cheer me not with flatt’ring hopes beguiling,
Nor mock my fears, ye who around my bed
Rain sunshine show’rs, in love and pity smiling
E’en through the tears ye shed.

Forgive, good Lord, the fretful bold petition
That erst I prayed, ‘Give children, or I die.’
Withdraw the cloud of dark and stern contrition
Which yet broods angrily.

For ever since that day the voice of weeping,
Such as we heard in Allon-Bachuth’s shade,
Hath sounded in mine ears, awake or sleeping,
And made my soul afraid.

Yea, ever since, the trembling fear of dying
Hath gotten hold and compass’d me around,
And on the wind a wailing voice and sighing
Comes with a mournful sound.

Faster and faster still, death’s hand doth beckon,
As nearer unto Mamre’s land I come,
Ephrath is nigh, but life by hours I reckon;
I may not reach my home.

 
*****
 

Come near and kiss me, Jacob, it is morning;
Tbe clouds and darkness all have passed away,
The eastern light my chamber is adorning,
Day breaks, I cannot stay.

Whose is this voice that calls the shepherd’s daughter,
Whence is this rod—this staff on which I lean?
What is this well of pure and living water,
Through the dark valley seen?

Once more, as in the morn of young affection,
To meet my Lord, I wander forth alone;
And, lo! the Angel of the Resurrection
Hath rolled away the stone.”

E. E.