To J. S.
More softly round the open wold,
And gently comes the world to those
That are cast in gentle mould.
Or else I had not dared to flow
In these words toward you, and invade
Even with a verse your holy woe.
Those in whose laps our limbs are nursed,
Fall into shadow, soonest lost:
Those we love first are taken first.
He lends us; but, when love is grown
To ripeness, that on which it throve
Falls off, and love is left alone.
In grief I am not all unlearn'd;
Once thro' mine own doors Death did pass;
One went, who never hath return'd.
Once more. Two years his chair is seen
Empty before us. That was he
Without whose life I had not been.
Rose with you thro' a little arc
Of heaven, nor having wander'd far
Shot on the sudden into dark.
I honour and his living worth:
A man more pure and bold and just
Was never born into the earth.
Since that dear soul hath fall'n asleep.
Great Nature is more wise than I:
I will not tell you not to weep.
Drawn from the spirit thro' the brain,
I will not even preach to you,
"Weep, weeping dulls the inward pain."
She loveth her own anguish deep
More than much pleasure. Let her will
Be done—to weep or not to weep.
Of Death is blown in every wind;"
For that is not a common chance
That takes away a noble mind.
In all our hearts, as mournful light
That broods above the fallen sun,
And dwells in heaven half the night.
Cast down her eyes, and in her throat
Her voice seem'd distant, and a tear
Dropt on my tablets as I wrote.
How should I soothe you anyway,
Who miss the brother of your youth?
Yet something I did wish to say:
Both are my friends, and my true breast
Bleedeth for both; yet it may be
That only silence suiteth best.
Grief more. 'Twere better I should cease;
Although myself could almost take
The place of him that sleeps in peace.
Sleep, holy spirit, blessed soul,
While the stars burn, the moons increase,
And the great ages onward roll.
Nothing comes to thee new or strange.
Sleep full of rest from head to feet;
Lie still, dry dust, secure of change.