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LIFE IN DEATH AND DEATH IN
F the dread day that calls thee hence,
(Closing in deadliest night and gloom
Long hours of aching dumb suspense,)
I think, beloved, I could see
In thy dear eyes the loving light
That, watching thy slow struggling breath,
I still could pray thy prayer and mine,
That God was love, and love divine.
Could hold thee in my arms,
Could smooth thy garments with fond care,
But, through my sobbing, " It is best."
Could stifle down the gnawing pain,
She has the rest, and I the strife,
Then turn, and the old duties take-
My heart and life and soul to fill.
I think I could check vain weak tears,
And toil,—although the world's great space Held nothing but one vacant place, And see the dark and weary years Lit only by a vanished grace.
And sometimes, when the day was o'er,
Its painful joy, its happy pain,
And live it over yet once more,
"But few more years remain."
And then, when I had striven my best,
And seek thee in eternal day.
But if the day should ever rise-
A day that took thy heart from me;
If loving thee still more and more,
And still so willing to be blind,
Of love, and left the empty rind;
If the poor lifeless words, at last, (The soul
gone, that was once so sweet,) Should cease my eager heart to cheat,
And crumble back into the past,
And show the whole a vain deceit;
If I should see thee turn away,
And know that prayer, and time, and pain, Could no more thy lost love regain, Than bid the hours of dying day Gleam in their mid-day noon again.
If I should loose thy hand, and know
By the dull throbbing of my heart.
If I should gaze and gaze in vain
And read the truth of all my fear
If not to grieve thee overmuch,
The ghost of my dead Past would rise
Or even to the eternal skies,
For I should still be lonely there.
All Truth, all Honour, then would seem
All Trust, a folly doomed to die;
All Life, a useless empty dream;
All Love-since thine had failed-a lie.