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To J. S.

The wind, that beats the mountain, blows
More softly round the open wold,

And gently comes the world to those
That are cast in gentle mould.


And me this knowledge bolder made,
Or else I had not dared to flow

In these words toward you, and invade
Even with a verse your holy woe.


'T is strange that those we lean on most,

Those in whose laps our limbs are nursed,

Fall into shadow, soonest lost:

Those we love first are taken first.


God gives us love. Something to love

He lends us; but, when love is grown To ripeness, that on which it throve Falls off, and love is left alone.


This is the curse of time. Alas!

In grief I am not all unlearned; Once through mine own doors Death did pass;

One went, who never hath returned.


He will not smile — not speak to me

Once more. Two years his chair is seen

Empty before us. That was he

Without whose life I had not been.

Your loss is rarer; for this star

Eose with you through a little arc

Of heaven, nor having wandered far,
Shot on the sudden into dark.


I knew your brother: his mute dust
I honor, and his living worth:

A man more pure and bold and just
Was never born into the earth.


I have not looked upon you nigh,

Since that dear soul hath fallen asleep. Great Nature is more wise than I: I will not tell you not to weep.

And though my own eyes fill with dew, Drawn from the spirit through the brain,

I will not even preach to you,

"Weep, weeping dulls the inward pain."


Let Grief be her own mistress still.

She loveth her own anguish deep More than much pleasure. Let her will

Be done — to weep or not to weep.


I will not say "God's ordinance

Of Death is blown in every wind;"

For that is not a common chance
That takes away a noble mind.


His memory long will live alone

In all our hearts, as mournful light That broods above the fallen sun,

And dwells in heaven half the night.


Vain solace! Memory standing near

Cast down her eyes, and in her throat

Her voice seemed distant, and a tear
Dropt on the letters as I wrote.


I wrote I know not what. In truth,
How should I soothe you anyway,

Who miss the brother of your youth?
Yet something I did wish to say:


For he too was a friend to me:

Both are my friends, and my true breast Bleedeth for both; yet it may be

That only silence suiteth best.

Words weaker than your grief would make

Grief more. 'T were better I should cease;

Although myself could almost take

The place of him that sleeps in peace:


Sleep sweetly, tender heart, in peace:

Sleep, holy spirit, blessed soul, While the stars burn, the moons increase, And the great ages onward roll.


Sleep till the end, true soul and sweet.

Nothing comes to thee new or strange. Sleep full of rest from head to feet;

Lie still, dry dust, secure of change.

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