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To J. S.
The wind, that beats the mountain, blows
And gently comes the world to those
And me this knowledge bolder made,
In these words toward you, and invade
'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,
I knew your brother: his mute dust
A man more pure and bold and just
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
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
I wrote I know not what. In truth,
Who miss the brother of your youth?
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.