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Poems About Dying

Table of Contents

Anticipation of Death

  1. If I should go tomorrow by Anonymous
  2. Afterglow by Anonymous
  3. Remember by Christina Georgina Rossetti
  4. If I Should Die by Thomas Gray
  5. Declining Days by Henry Frances Lyte
  6. A Common Thought by Henry Timrod
  7. Parting by Emily Dickinson
  8. Life! I know not what thou art by A. L. Barbauld
  9. My Last Will by Sir Walter Raleigh
  10. The Soldier by Rupert Brooke
  11. Thoughts On Death by Benjamin Hine
  12. "Now the Lengthening Twilights Hold" by Bliss Carman
  13. The Fading Flower by Will Carleton
  14. The Three Warnings by Hester Lynch Thrale
  15. Death by ENS
  16. If I shouldn't be alive by Emily Dickinson
  17. The Dying Exile by Hannah Flagg Gould
  18. Death by Richard Coe
  19. Life, I Know Not What Thou Art by Anna L. Barbauld
  20. My Request by James W. Whilt
  21. 'Tis the Last Rose of Summer by Thomas Moore

Facing Death

  1. To Death by Ruby Archer
  2. Challenge by Kenton Foster Murray
  3. Unflinchingly by Raymond Garfield Dandridge
  4. The last night that she lived by Emily Dickinson
  5. I Fall Asleep by Samuel Butler
  6. What if I say I shall not wait? by Emily Dickinson
  7. Farewell by Emily Dickinson
  8. Evanishings by Mary E. Tucker
  9. The New Life's Salutation by Anna Barbauld
  10. Prospice by Robert Browning
  11. Dead by Laurence Dunbar
  12. So proud she was to die by Emily Dickinson
  13. A Wish by Frances Anne Kemble

Dying - Description of Death/About Death

  1. A throe upon the features by Emily Dickinson
  2. Written By The Sick Bed Of My Honored Mother by Eliza and Sarah Wolcott
  3. Dying by Emily Dickinson
  4. Release by Adelaide Crapsey
  5. Astra Castra by Emily Dickinson
  6. We never know we go, — when we are going by Emily Dickinson
  7. We cover thee, sweet face by Emily Dickinson
  8. Dead by Emily Dickinson
  9. Vanished by Emily Dickinson
  10. The Soul's Farewell by Hannah Flagg Gould
  11. "Troubled About Many Things." by Emily Dickinson
  12. The bustle in a house by Emily Dickinson
  13. The Night Journey by Rupert Brooke


  1. One dignity delays for all by Emily Dickinson
  2. The Winter Burial by Hannah Flagg Gould
  3. A Country Burial by Emily Dickinson
  4. The Funeral by Emily Dickinson

The Grave & The Dead

  1. Under the Violets by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  2. Elegy in a Country Churchyard by Thomas Gray
  3. I died for beauty, but was scarce by Emily Dickinson
  4. The Forgotten Grave by Emily Dickinson
  5. If I may have it when it's dead by Emily Dickinson
  6. I wish I knew that woman's name by Emily Dickinson
  7. Refuge by Emily Dickinson
  8. The grave my little cottage is by Emily Dickinson
  9. Safe in their alabaster chambers by Emily Dickinson
  10. The Monument by Emily Dickinson
  11. The Harp That Once Through Tara's Halls by Thomas Moore
  12. The Robe by Hannah Flagg Gould
  13. I noticed people disappeared by Emily Dickinson
  14. I wonder if the sepulchre by Emily Dickinson
  15. Waiting by John Burroughs
  16. Requiescat by Oscar Wilde
  17. Oblivion by John Charles McNeill
  18. A Sister's Love by Slaughter McKinney
  19. Oblivion by John Charles McNeill

Anticipation of Death

  1. If I should go tomorrow

    by Anonymous

    If I should go tomorrow
    It would never be goodbye,
    For I have left my heart with you,
    So don't you ever cry.
    The love that's deep within me,
    Shall reach you from the stars,
    You'll feel it from the heavens,
    And it will heal the scars.

  2. Afterglow

    by Anonymous

    I'd like the memory of me to be a happy one.
    I'd like to leave an afterglow of smiles when life is done.
    I'd like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways,
    Of happy times and laughing times and bright and sunny days.
    I'd like the tears of those who grieve, to dry before the sun;
    Of happy memories that I leave when life is done.

  3. Remember

    by Christina Georgina Rossetti

    Remember me when I am gone away,
    Gone far away into the silent land;
    When you can no more hold me by the hand,
    Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
    Remember me when no more day by day
    You tell me of our future that you plann'd:
    Only remember me; you understand
    It will be late to counsel then or pray.
    Yet if you should forget me for a while
    And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
    For if the darkness and corruption leave
    A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
    Better by far you should forget and smile
    Than that you should remember and be sad.

  4. If I Should Die

    by Thomas Gray

    If I should die and leave you
    Be not like the others, quick undone
    Who keep long vigils by the silent
    dust and weep.

    For my sake turn to life and smile
    Nerving thy heart and trembling
    hand to comfort weaker souls than thee.
    Complete these unfinished tasks of mine
    And I perchance may therein comfort thee.

  5. Declining Days

    by Henry Frances Lyte

    Why do I sigh to find
    Life's evening shadows gathering round my way?
    The keen eye dimming, and the buoyant mind
    Unhinging day by day?

    Is it the natural dread
    Of that stern lot, which all who live must see?
    The worm, the clay, the dark and narrow bed, —
    Have these such awe for me?

    Can I not summon pride
    To fold, my decent mantle round my breast;
    And lay me down at Nature's eventide,
    Calm to my dreamless rest?

    As nears my soul the verge
    Of this dim continent of woe and crime,
    Shrinks she to hear Eternity's long surge
    Break o'er the shores of time?

    Asks she, how shall she fare
    When conscience stands before the judge's throne,
    And gives her record in, and all shall there
    Know, as they all are known?

    A solemn scene and time —
    And well may Nature quail to feel them near —
    But grace in feeble breasts can work sublime,
    And faith overmaster fear!

    Hark I from that throne comes down
    A voice which strength to sinking souls can give,
    That voice all judgment's thunders cannot drown;
    'Believe,' it cries, 'and live.'

    Weak-sinful, as I am,
    That still small voice forbids me to despond
    Faith clings for refuge to thebleeding Lamb,
    Nor dreads the gloom beyond. —

    'Tis not, then, earth's delights
    From which my spirit feels so loath to part;
    Nor the dim future's solemn sounds or sights,
    That press so on my heart.

    No I 'tis the thought that I —
    My lamp so low, my sun so nearly set,
    Have lived so useless, so unmissed should lie
    'Tis this, I now regret. —

    I would not be the wave,
    That swells and ripples up to yonder shore
    That drives impulsive on, the wild wind's slave,
    And breaks, and is no more! —

    I would not be the breeze,
    That murmers by me in its viewless play,
    Bends the light grass, and flutters in the trees,
    And sighs and flits away! —

    No I not like wave or wind
    Be my career across the earthly scene
    To come and go, and leave no trace behind,
    To say that I have been.

    I want not vulgar fame —
    I seek not to survive in brass or stone
    Hearts may not kindle when they hear my name,
    Nor tears my value own. —

    But might I leave behind
    Some blessing for my fellows, some fair trust
    To guide, to cheer, to elevate my kind
    When I am in the dust.

    Within my narrow bed,
    Might I not wholly mute or useless be;
    But hope that they, who trampled o'er my head,
    Drew still some good from me!

    Might my poor lyre but give
    Some simple strain, some spirit-moving lay;
    Some sparklet of the soul, that still might live
    When I have passed to clay! —

    Might verse of mine inspire
    One virtuous aim, one high resolve impart;
    Light in one drooping soul a hallowed fire,
    Or bind one broken heart. —

    Death would be sweeter then,
    More calm my slumber 'neath the silent sod;
    Might I thus live to bless my fellow-men,
    Or glorify my God.

    Why do we ever lose,
    As judgment ripens, our diviner powers
    Why do we only learn our gifts to use,
    When they no more are ours?

    O Thou whose touch can lend
    Life to the dead, Thy quick'ning grace supply,
    And grant me, swanlike, my last breath to spend
    In song that may not die!

  6. A Common Thought

    Henry Timrod

    Somewhere on this earthly planet
    In the dust of flowers that be,
    In the dewdrop, in the sunshine,
    Sleeps a solemn day for me.

    At this wakeful hour of midnight
    I behold it dawn in mist,
    And I hear a sound of sobbing
    Through the darkness,—Hist! oh, hist!

    In a dim and musky chamber,
    I am breathing life away;
    Some one draws a curtain softly,
    And I watch the broadening day.

    As it purples in the zenith,
    As it brightens on the lawn,
    There's a hush of death about me,
    And a whisper, "He is gone!"

  7. Parting

    by Emily Dickinson

    My life closed twice before its close;
    It yet remains to see
    If Immortality unveil
    A third event to me,

    So huge, so hopeless to conceive,
    As these that twice befell.
    Parting is all we know of heaven,
    And all we need of hell.

  8. My Request

    by James W. Whilt

    When I leave this old dreary world
    To cross to the Great Unknown;
    Don't bury me in a costly tomb
    Or raise a shaft of stone—

    But lay me on some hill-side,
    Mid the forest that I love;
    Where the wild flowers bloom around me
    And the eagle soars above:

    With an ancient ledge above me,
    One that is all moss-grown;
    These words inscribed upon it,
    "He is one of Nature's own.

    One who loved the forest,
    One who loved the hills,
    Although his soul has taken flight,
    His foot-steps echo still."

  9. My Last Will

    by Sir Walter Raleigh

    When I am safely laid away,
    Out of work and out of play,
    Sheltered by the kindly ground
    From the world of sight and sound,
    One or two of those I leave
    Will remember me and grieve,
    Thinking how I made them gay
    By the things I used to say;
    — But the crown of their distress
    Will be my untidiness.

    What a nuisance then will be
    All that shall remain of me!
    Shelves of books I never read,
    Piles of bills, undocketed,
    Shaving-brushes, razors, strops,
    Bottles that have lost their tops,
    Boxes full of odds and ends,
    Letters from departed friends,
    Faded ties and broken braces
    Tucked away in secret places,
    Baggy trousers, ragged coats,
    Stacks of ancient lecture-notes,
    And that ghostliest of shows,
    Boots and shoes in horrid rows.
    Though they are of cheerful mind,
    My lovers, whom I leave behind,
    When they find these in my stead,
    Will be sorry I am dead.

    They will grieve; but you, my dear,
    Who have never tasted fear,
    Brave companion of my youth,
    Free as air and true as truth,
    Do not let these weary things
    Rob you of your junketings.

    Burn the papers; sell the books;
    Clear out all the pestered nooks;
    Make a mighty funeral pyre
    For the corpse of old desire,
    Till there shall remain of it
    Naught but ashes in a pit:
    And when you have done away
    All that is of yesterday,
    If you feel a thrill of pain,
    Master it, and start again.

    This, at least, you have never done
    Since you first beheld the sun:
    If you came upon your own
    Blind to light and deaf to tone,
    Basking in the great release
    Of unconsciousness and peace,
    You would never, while you live,
    Shatter what you cannot give;
    — Faithful to the watch you keep,
    You would never break their sleep.

    Clouds will sail and winds will blow
    As they did an age ago
    O'er us who lived in little towns
    Underneath the Berkshire downs.
    When at heart you shall be sad,
    Pondering the joys we had,
    Listen and keep very still.
    If the lowing from the hill
    Or the tolling of a bell
    Do not serve to break the spell,
    Listen; you may be allowed
    To hear my laughter from a cloud.

    Take the good that life can give
    For the time you have to live.
    Friends of yours and friends of mine
    Surely will not let you pine.
    Sons and daughters will not spare
    More than friendly love and care.
    If the Fates are kind to you,
    Some will stay to see you through;
    And the time will not be long
    Till the silence ends the song.

    Sleep is God's own gift; and man,
    Snatching all the joys he can,
    Would not dare to give his voice
    To reverse his Maker's choice.
    Brief delight, eternal quiet,
    How change these for endless riot
    Broken by a single rest?
    Well you know that sleep is best.

    We that have been heart to heart
    Fall asleep, and drift apart.
    Will that overwhelming tide
    Reunite us, or divide?
    Whence we come and whither go
    None can tell us, but I know
    Passion's self is often marred
    By a kind of self-regard,
    And the torture of the cry
    "You are you, and I am I."
    While we live, the waking sense
    Feeds upon our difference,
    In our passion and our pride
    Not united, but allied.

    We are severed by the sun,
    And by darkness are made one.

  10. The Soldier

    by Rupert Brooke

    If I should die, think only this of me:
    That there's some corner of a foreign field
    That is forever England. There shall be
    In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
    A dust that England bore, shaped, made aware,
    Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
    A body of England's, breathing English air,
    Washed by the rivers, blest by the suns of home.

    And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
    A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
    Gives somewhere back the thoughts of England given;
    Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
    And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
    In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

  11. Thoughts On Death

    by Benjamin Hine

    Dread thought, my soul; death soon will reign;
    This fleeting life will quick be o'er;
    The sun shall set and rise again,
    But I shall sleep and wake no more.

    No more shall walk, no more shall stand,
    Or sit conversing with my friend,
    But lodged in the dark grave's domain,
    Where death and darkness ever reign.

    And is this all that I shall be,
    Great God, or shall I rise to thee,
    Arise to life, to glory rise,
    And mount triumphant through the skies?

    Oh, may I reach that heavenly home,
    Where death and darkness never come,
    Where all unite to sing thy praise,
    And endless hallelujahs raise.

  12. Now the lengthening twilights hold

    by Bliss Carman

    Now the lengthening twilights hold
    Tints of lavender and gold,
    And the marshy places ring
    With the pipers of the spring.

    Now the solitary star
    Lays a path on meadow streams,
    And I know it is not far
    To the open door of dreams.

    Lord of April, in my hour
    May the dogwood be in flower,
    And my angel through the dome
    Of spring twilight lead me home.

  13. The Fading Flower

    by Will Carleton

    There is a chillness in the air—
    A coldness in the smile of day;
    And e'en the sunbeam's crimson glare
    Seems shaded with a tinge of gray.

    Weary of journeys to and fro,
    The sun low creeps adown the sky;
    And on the shivering earth below,
    The long, cold shadows grimly lie.

    But there will fall a deeper shade,
    More chilling than the Autumn's breath:
    There is a flower that yet must fade,
    And yield its sweetness up to death.

    She sits upon the window-seat,
    Musing in mournful silence there,
    While on her brow the sunbeams meet,
    And dally with her golden hair.

    Hopes unfulfilled have vexed her breast,
    Sad smiles have checked the rising sigh;
    Until her weary heart confessed,
    Reluctantly, that she must die.

    And she has thought of all the ties—
    The golden ties—that bind her here;
    Of all that she has learned to prize,
    Of all that she has counted dear;

    The joys of body, heart, and mind,
    The pleasures that she loves so well;
    The grasp of friendship, warm and kind,
    And love's delicious, hallowed spell.

    And she has wept, that she must lie
    Beneath the snow-wreaths, drifted deep,
    With no fond mother standing nigh,
    To watch her in her silent sleep.

    And she has prayed, if it might be
    Within the reach of human skill,
    And not averse to Heaven, that she
    Might live a little longer still.

    But earthly hope is gone; and now
    Comes in its place a brighter beam,
    Leaving upon her snowy brow
    The impress of a heavenly dream:

    That she, when her frail body yields,
    And fades away to mortal eyes,
    Shall burst through Heaven's eternal fields,
    And bloom again—in Paradise.

  14. The Three Warnings

    by Hester Lynch Thrale

    The tree of deepest root is found
    Least willing still to quit the ground;
    'T was therefore said by ancient sages,
    That love of life increased with years
    So much, that in our latter stages,
    When pains grow sharp, and sickness rages,
    The greatest love of life appears.

    This great affection to believe,
    Which all confess, but few perceive,
    If old assertions can't prevail,
    Be pleased to hear a modern tale.

    When sports went round, and all were gay,
    On neighbor Dodson's wedding day,
    Death called aside the jocund groom
    With him into another room;
    And looking grave, "You must," says he,
    "Quit your sweet bride, and come with me."
    "With you! and quit my Susan's side?
    With you!" the hapless bridegroom cried:
    "Young as I am, 't is monstrous hard!
    Besides, in truth, I'm not prepared."

    What more he urged, I have not heard;
    His reasons could not well be stronger:
    So Death the poor delinquent spared,
    And left to live a little longer.
    Yet, calling up a serious look,
    His hourglass trembled while he spoke:
    "Neighbor," he said, "farewell! no more
    Shall Death disturb your mirthful hour;
    And further, to avoid all blame
    Of cruelty upon my name,
    To give you time for preparation,
    And fit you for your future station,
    Three several warnings you shall have
    Before you're summoned to the grave;
    Willing for once I'll quit my prey,
    And grant a kind reprieve;
    In hopes you'll have no more to say,
    But, when I call again this way,
    Well pleased the world will leave."
    To these conditions both consented,
    And parted perfectly contented.

    What next the hero of our tale befell,
    How long he lived, how wisely, and how well,
    It boots not that the Muse should tell;
    He plowed, he sowed, he bought, he sold,
    Nor once perceived his growing old,
    Nor thought of Death as near;
    His friends not false, his wife no shrew,
    Many his gains, his children few,
    He passed his hours in peace.
    But, while he viewed his wealth increase,
    While thus along life's dusty road,
    The beaten track, content he trod,
    Old Time, whose haste no mortal spares,
    Uncalled, unheeded, unawares,
    Brought on his eightieth year.

    And now, one night, in musing mood,
    As all alone he sate,
    The unwelcome messenger of Fate
    Once more before him stood.
    Half-killed with wonder and surprise,
    "So soon returned!" old Dodson cries.
    "So soon d' ye call it?" Death replies:
    "Surely! my friend, you're but in jest;
    Since I was here before,
    'T is six and thirty years at least,
    And you are now fourscore."
    "So much the worse!" the clown rejoined;
    "To spare the aged would be kind:
    Besides, you promised me three warnings,
    Which I have looked for nights and mornings!"

    "I know," cries Death, "that at the best,
    I seldom am a welcome guest;
    But don't be captious, friend; at least,
    I little thought that you'd be able
    To stump about your farm and stable;
    Your years have run to a great length,
    Yet still you seem to have your strength."

    "Hold!" says the farmer, "not so fast!
    I have been lame, these four years past."
    "And no great wonder," Death replies,
    "However, you still keep your eyes;
    And surely, sir, to see one's friends,
    For legs and arms would make amends."
    "Perhaps," says Dodson, "so it might,
    But latterly I've lost my sight."
    "This is a shocking story, faith;
    But there's some comfort still," says Death;
    "Each strives your sadness to amuse;
    I warrant you hear all the news."
    "There's none," cries he, "and if there were,
    I've grown so deaf, I could not hear."

    "Nay, then," the specter stern rejoined,
    "These are unpardonable yearnings;
    If you are lame, and deaf, and blind,
    You've had your three sufficient warnings,
    So, come along; no more we'll part."
    He said, and touched him with his dart:
    And now old Dodson, turning pale,
    Yields to his fate—so ends my tale.

  15. Death

    by ENS

    It is appointed unto men once to die Hebrews ix 27

    The glorious, brilliant orb of day,
    Now sinking in the west;
    And casting forth his last pale ray,
    Proclaims the hour of rest.
    The darker tints of sober grey,
    O'erspreads the evening sky;
    And fading nature seems to say,
    Prepare—for thou must die!

    Yon meek eyed majesty of night,
    Now casting round her smiles,
    In shedding forth her feebler light,
    The darkness thus beguiles;
    Reflecting down upon our earth
    Her pale and waning eye,
    Reminds me that I am but dust,
    That I must surely die!

    Those brilliant gems, that stud the paths
    Of heaven's pure expanse,
    Can raise my heart above this earth,
    And all its sordid wants;
    While each revolving in its orb,
    Illumes yon azure sky,
    Says, turn thy thoughts heavenward,
    Remember! thou must die.

    And when night's sable clouds are drawn,
    These thoughts will still prevail,
    That I am but an earthly worm,
    Most sinful weak and frail;
    Though frail I am my hopes ascend,
    Far far beyond the sky,
    I trust my Saviour and my friend!
    Will teach me how to die.

  16. If I shouldn't be alive

    by Emily Dickinson

    If I shouldn't be alive
    When the robins come,
    Give the one in red cravat
    A memorial crumb.

    If I couldn't thank you,
    Being just asleep,
    You will know I'm trying
    With my granite lip!

  17. The Dying Exile

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    Who will stand, when I shall pillow
    In the earth this aching head,
    Pensive, by the drooping willow,
    O'er my cold and narrow bed?

    There will be no tender mother,
    Aged sire, nor constant friend;
    There will be no sister, brother,
    O'er my lonely grave to bend.

    Strangers then will heedless bear me
    Where the stranger's dust must lie;
    Yet, the offering none will spare me
    Of a tear, while thus I die.

    They behold my life-strings sever
    At the conqueror's final blow;
    But the heart that's breaking—never
    They its inward pangs shall know.

    Come, ye whispering airs of heaven,
    Take my sighs, my last adieu
    To the country whence I'm driven,
    To the friends to whom I'm true!

    Let them know I've ceased to languish;
    Tell them I am freed from pain;
    That my bosom swelled with anguish,
    Till its chords all snapped in twain.

    Say, my last regrets were centred,
    All my fondness lingered there,
    Till upon a home I entered
    Free from banishment and care;

    That my glad, unburdened spirit
    Soared triumphantly at last;
    That, a country I inherit
    Worth all sighs and anguish past.

    Faith and hope, your strength is doubling!
    Soon that home will be possessed,
    "Where the wicked cease from troubling,
    And the weary are at rest!"

  18. Death

    by Richard Coe

    What is death?
    A parted breath—
    The Scriptures say—
    The soaring of the soul away
    From out its cumbrous load of clay,
    To live for aye
    In endless night or perfect day!

  19. Life, I Know Not What Thou Art

    by Anna L. Barbauld

    Life! I know not what thou art,
    But know that thou and I must part;
    And when, or how, or where we met
    I own to me's a secret yet.

    Life! we've been long together
    Through pleasant and through cloudy weather;
    'Tis hard to part when friends are dear—
    Perhaps 'twill cost a sigh, a tear;

    Then steal away; give little warning,
    Choose thine own time;
    Say not Good Night, but in some brighter clime
    Bid me Good Morning.

  20. The Last Rose of Summer

    by Thomas Moore

    'Tis the last rose of summer
    Left blooming alone;
    All her lovely companions
    Are faded and gone;
    No flower of her kindred,
    No rosebud is nigh,
    To reflect back her blushes,
    Or give sigh for sigh.

    I'll not leave thee, thou lone one!
    To pine on the stem;
    Since the lovely are sleeping,
    Go, sleep thou with them.
    Thus kindly I scatter
    Thy leaves o'er the bed,
    Where thy mates of the garden
    Lie scentless and dead.

    So soon may I follow,
    When friendships decay,
    And from Love's shining circle
    The gems drop away.
    When true hearts lie withered,
    And fond ones are flown,
    Oh! who would inhabit
    This bleak world alone!

  21. Facing Death

  22. To Death

    by Ruby Archer

    Death, have you flowers
    To lay on my grave?
    Bid them appear
    Where flinty stones pave.

    Death, have you laurels
    To crown a mere name?
    Only the living
    Are conscious of fame.

    Death, have you manna,
    My spirit to feed?
    Let me have daily bread
    Now in my need.

    Death, I will foil you―
    No more importune.
    Lo!―I want nothing.
    Keep your poor boon!

  23. Challenge

    by Kenton Foster Murray

    This little child, so white, so calm,
    Decked for her grave,
    Encountered death without a qualm.
    Are you as brave?

    So small, and armed with naught beside
    Her mother's kiss,
    Alone she stepped, unterrified,
    Into the abyss.

    "Ah," you explain, "she did not know—
    This babe of four—
    Just what it signifies to go."
    Do you know more?

  24. Unflinchingly

    by Raymond Garfield Dandridge

    When tabes claims my useless frame,
    And I am with my fathers laid,
    I want it said that when he came,
    I met him—met him unafraid.

    Unflinchingly, full-trustingly,
    I hope to face his icy breath,
    And step into Eternity
    To comfort, through the gate of death.

  25. The last night that she lived

    by Emily Dickinson

    The last night that she lived,
    It was a common night,
    Except the dying; this to us
    Made nature different.

    We noticed smallest things, —
    Things overlooked before,
    By this great light upon our minds
    Italicized, as 't were.

    That others could exist
    While she must finish quite,
    A jealousy for her arose
    So nearly infinite.

    We waited while she passed;
    It was a narrow time,
    Too jostled were our souls to speak,
    At length the notice came.

    She mentioned, and forgot;
    Then lightly as a reed
    Bent to the water, shivered scarce,
    Consented, and was dead.

    And we, we placed the hair,
    And drew the head erect;
    And then an awful leisure was,
    Our faith to regulate.

  26. I Fall Asleep

    by Samuel Butler

    I fall asleep in the full and certain hope
    That my slumber shall not be broken;
    And that though I be all-forgetting,
    Yet shall I not be forgotten,
    But continue that life in the thoughts
    And deeds of those I loved.

  27. What if I say I shall not wait?

    by Emily Dickinson

    What if I say I shall not wait?
    What if I burst the fleshly gate
    And pass, escaped, to thee?
    What if I file this mortal off,
    See where it hurt me, — that 's enough, —
    And wade in liberty?

    They cannot take us any more, —
    Dungeons may call, and guns implore;
    Unmeaning now, to me,
    As laughter was an hour ago,
    Or laces, or a travelling show,
    Or who died yesterday!

  28. Farewell

    by Emily Dickinson

    Tie the strings to my life, my Lord,
    Then I am ready to go!
    Just a look at the horses —
    Rapid! That will do!

    Put me in on the firmest side,
    So I shall never fall;
    For we must ride to the Judgment,
    And it's partly down hill.

    But never I mind the bridges,
    And never I mind the sea;
    Held fast in everlasting race
    By my own choice and thee.

    Good-by to the life I used to live,
    And the world I used to know;
    And kiss the hills for me, just once;
    Now I am ready to go!

  29. Evanishings

    by Mary E. Tucker

    Darling, how long before this breath will cease?
    How long before my soul shall have sweet peace?
    I am so weary, that I fain would rest,
    Would rest forever on my Saviour's breast.

    Ah! let me gaze once more upon the earth,
    So gay, so bright, so full of joy and mirth.
    The song-birds sing, and bright flowers bloom for me,
    And night's pure stars shine on me lovingly:

    Earth is all brightness, still I fain would go
    Where all is real, where joy ne'er turns to woe,
    Where this frail body will be free from pain,
    Where we shall meet, no more to part again.

    'Tis dark here, father! Oh, weep not for me,
    For Heaven is light through all Eternity.
    In the pure garland of her Saviour's love
    Your bud will shed her fragrance far above.

    Oh, mother! Think I've only gone before,—
    My sisters! That we soon shall meet once more.
    Weep not for me! my heart is passing light,
    I'll rest to-morrow robed in spotless white.

    Speak louder! for my earthly senses fail—
    Terrestrial things before my dim sight pale.
    Celestial visions meet my fading sight;
    I hear sweet music in the realms of light.

    And thou, beloved, who art near my side—
    But one short month and I had been thy bride.
    How can I leave thee? 'Tis my Saviour's voice,
    He would espouse me—fainting heart, rejoice.

    Farewell to all, a long and last farewell!
    The angels call me where immortals dwell
    With a sweet smile she breathed her latest breath,
    And thus our darling triumphed over death.

  30. The New Life's Salutation

    by Anna Barbauld

    Life, we've been long together
    Through pleasant and through cloudy weather;
    'Tis hard to part when friends are dear,
    Perhaps 'twill cost a sigh, a tear;
    Then steal away, give little warning,
    Choose thine own time:
    Say not "Good night," but in some brighter clime
    Bid me "Good morning."

  31. Prospice

    by Robert Browning

    Fear death?—to feel the fog in my throat,
    The mist in my face,
    When the snows begin, and the blasts denote
    I am nearing the place,
    The power of the night, the press of the storm,
    The post of the foe;

    Where he stands, the Arch Fear in a visible form,
    Yet the strong man must go:
    For the journey is done and the summit attained,
    And the barriers fall,
    Though a battle's to fight ere the guerdon be gained,
    The reward of it all.
    I was ever a fighter, so—one fight more,
    The best and the last!
    I would hate that death bandaged my eyes and forbore,
    And bade me creep past.
    No! let me taste the whole of it, fare like my peers
    The heroes of old,
    Bear the brunt, in a minute pay glad life's arrears
    Of pain, darkness and cold.
    For sudden the worst turns the best to the brave,
    The black minute's at end,
    And the elements' rage, the fiend-voices that rave,
    Shall dwindle, shall blend,
    Shall change, shall become first a peace out of pain,
    Then a light, then thy breast,
    O thou soul of my soul! I shall clasp thee again,
    And with God be the rest!

  32. Dead

    by Paul Laurence Dunbar

    A knock is at her door, but she is weak;
    Strange dews have washed the paint streaks from her cheek;
    She does not rise, but, ah, this friend is known,
    And knows that he will find her all alone.
    So opens he the door, and with soft tread
    Goes straightway to the richly curtained bed.
    His soft hand on her dewy head he lays.
    A strange white light she gives him for his gaze.
    Then, looking on the glory of her charms,
    He crushes her resistless in his arms.

    Stand back! look not upon this bold embrace,
    Nor view the calmness of the wanton's face;
    With joy unspeakable and 'bated breath,
    She keeps her last, long liaison with death!

  33. So proud she was to die

    by Emily Dickinson

    So proud she was to die
    It made us all ashamed
    That what we cherished, so unknown
    To her desire seemed.

    So satisfied to go
    Where none of us should be,
    Immediately, that anguish stooped
    Almost to jealousy.

  34. A Wish

    by Frances Anne Kemble

    Let me not die for ever! when I'm gone
    To the cold earth; but let my memory
    Live like the gorgeous western light that shone
    Over the clouds where sank day's majesty.
    Let me not be forgotten! though the grave
    Has clasped its hideous arms around my brow.
    Let me not be forgotten! though the wave
    Of time's dark current rolls above me now.
    Yet not in tears remembered be my name;
    Weep over those ye loved; for me, for me,
    Give me the wreath of glory, and let fame
    Over my tomb spread immortality!

  35. Poems About Dying

  36. A throe upon the features

    by Emily Dickinson

    A throe upon the features
    A hurry in the breath,
    An ecstasy of parting
    Denominated "Death," —

    An anguish at the mention,
    Which, when to patience grown,
    I've known permission given
    To rejoin its own.

  37. Written By The Sick Bed Of My Honored Mother

    by Eliza and Sarah Wolcott

    The form so belov'd, is fading away,
    And the bosom is heaving with sighs;
    The beating pulse flies, her life must decay,
    For hope, her mild radiance denies.

    Dear mother, the guide of my earliest days,
    Who so oft hath soothed my grief,
    If gratitude, ever such kindness repays,
    My bosom would here find relief.

    No proffer of friendship, e'er made me depart,
    In childhood or youth, from thy care;
    The voice of my mother still liv'd in my heart,
    For love seal'd her image best there.

    The sound of the viol is dead to my soul,
    The song of the serenade too;
    I wait but to hear the knell that must toll
    That sound which comports with my wo.

    I would not repine, though nature must die,
    And leave me awhile, here to weep;
    She dies but to live—her Savior is nigh,—
    On His arm, she reposes in sleep.

  38. Dying

    by Emily Dickinson

    I heard a fly buzz when I died;
    The stillness round my form
    Was like the stillness in the air
    Between the heaves of storm.

    The eyes beside had wrung them dry,
    And breaths were gathering sure
    For that last onset, when the king
    Be witnessed in his power.

    I willed my keepsakes, signed away
    What portion of me I
    Could make assignable, — and then
    There interposed a fly,

    With blue, uncertain, stumbling buzz,
    Between the light and me;
    And then the windows failed, and then
    I could not see to see.

  39. Release

    by Adelaide Crapsey

    With swift
    Great sweep of her
    Magnificent arm my pain
    Clanged back the doors that shut my soul
    From life.

  40. Astra Castra

    by Emily Dickinson

    Departed to the judgment,
    A mighty afternoon;
    Great clouds like ushers leaning,
    Creation looking on.

    The flesh surrendered, cancelled,
    The bodiless begun;
    Two worlds, like audiences, disperse
    And leave the soul alone.

  41. We never know we go, — when we are going

    by Emily Dickinson

    We never know we go, — when we are going
    We jest and shut the door;
    Fate following behind us bolts it,
    And we accost no more.

  42. We cover thee, sweet face.

    by Emily Dickinson

    We cover thee, sweet face.
    Not that we tire of thee,
    But that thyself fatigue of us;
    Remember, as thou flee,
    We follow thee until
    Thou notice us no more,
    And then, reluctant, turn away
    To con thee o'er and o'er,
    And blame the scanty love
    We were content to show,
    Augmented, sweet, a hundred fold
    If thou would'st take it now.

  43. Dead

    by Emily Dickinson

    There's something quieter than sleep
    Within this inner room!
    It wears a sprig upon its breast,
    And will not tell its name.

    Some touch it and some kiss it,
    Some chafe its idle hand;
    It has a simple gravity
    I do not understand!

    While simple-hearted neighbors
    Chat of the 'early dead,'
    We, prone to periphrasis,
    Remark that birds have fled!

  44. Vanished

    by Emily Dickinson

    She died, — this was the way she died;
    And when her breath was done,
    Took up her simple wardrobe
    And started for the sun.

    Her little figure at the gate
    The angels must have spied,
    Since I could never find her
    Upon the mortal side.

  45. The Soul's Farewell

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    It must be so, poor, fading, mortal thing!
    And now we part, thou pallid form of clay;
    Thy hold is broke—I can unfurl my wing;
    And from the dust the spirit must away!

    As thou at night, hast thrown thy vesture by,
    Tired with the day, to seek thy wonted rest,
    Fatigued with time's vain round,'t is thus that I
    Of thee, frail covering, myself divest.

    Thou know'st, while journeying in this thorny road,
    How oft we're sighed and struggled to be twain;
    How I have longed to drop my earthly load,
    And thou, to rest thee from thy toil and pain.

    Then he, who severs our mysterious tie,
    Is a kind angel, granting each release;
    He'll seal thy quivering lip and sunken eye
    And stamp thy brow with everlasting peace.

    When thou hast lost the beauty that I gave,
    And life's gay scenes no more will give thee place,
    Thou may'st retire within the secret grave,
    Where none shall look upon thine altered face.

    But I am summoned to the eternal throne,
    To meet the presence of the King most high;
    I go to stand, unshrouded and alone,
    Full in the light of God's all-searching eye.

    There must the deeds, which we together wrought,
    Be all remembered—each a witness made;
    The outward action and the secret thought
    Before the silent soul must there be weighed.

    Lo! I behold the seraph throng descend
    To waft me up where love and mercy dwell!
    Away, vain fears! the Judge will be my friend;
    It is my Father calls—pale clay, farewell!

  46. "Troubled About Many Things."

    by Emily Dickinson

    How many times these low feet staggered,
    Only the soldered mouth can tell;
    Try! can you stir the awful rivet?
    Try! can you lift the hasps of steel?

    Stroke the cool forehead, hot so often,
    Lift, if you can, the listless hair;
    Handle the adamantine fingers
    Never a thimble more shall wear.

    Buzz the dull flies on the chamber window;
    Brave shines the sun through the freckled pane;
    Fearless the cobweb swings from the ceiling —
    Indolent housewife, in daisies lain!

  47. The bustle in a house

    by Emily Dickinson

    The bustle in a house
    The morning after death
    Is solemnest of industries
    Enacted upon earth, —

    The sweeping up the heart,
    And putting love away
    We shall not want to use again
    Until eternity.

  48. The Night Journey

    by Rupert Brooke

    Hands and lit faces eddy to a line;
    The dazed last minutes click; the clamour dies.
    Beyond the great-swung arc o' the roof, divine,
    Night, smoky-scarv'd, with thousand coloured eyes

    Glares the imperious mystery of the way.
    Thirsty for dark, you feel the long-limbed train
    Throb, stretch, thrill motion, slide, pull out and sway,
    Strain for the far, pause, draw to strength again....

    As a man, caught by some great hour, will rise,
    Slow-limbed, to meet the light or find his love;
    And, breathing long, with staring sightless eyes,
    Hands out, head back, agape and silent, move

    Sure as a flood, smooth as a vast wind blowing;
    And, gathering power and purpose as he goes,
    Unstumbling, unreluctant, strong, unknowing,
    Borne by a will not his, that lifts, that grows,

    Sweep out to darkness, triumphing in his goal,
    Out of the fire, out of the little room....
    —There is an end appointed, O my soul!
    Crimson and green the signals burn; the gloom

    Is hung with steam's far-blowing livid streamers.
    Lost into God, as lights in light, we fly,
    Grown one with will, end-drunken huddled dreamers.
    The white lights roar. The sounds of the world die.

    And lips and laughter are forgotten things.
    Speed sharpens; grows. Into the night, and on,
    The strength and splendour of our purpose swings.
    The lamps fade; and the stars. We are alone.

  49. Funerals

  50. One dignity delays for all

    by Emily Dickinson

    One dignity delays for all,
    One mitred afternoon.
    None can avoid this purple,
    None evade this crown.

    Coach it insures, and footmen,
    Chamber and state and throng;
    Bells, also, in the village,
    As we ride grand along.

    What dignified attendants,
    What service when we pause!
    How loyally at parting
    Their hundred hats they raise!

    How pomp surpassing ermine,
    When simple you and I
    Present our meek escutcheon,
    And claim the rank to die!

  51. The Winter Burial

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    The deep-toned bell peals long and low
    On the keen, mid-winter air;
    A sorrowing train moves sad and slow
    From the solemn place of prayer.

    The earth is in a winding sheet,
    And nature wrapped in gloom,
    Cold, cold the path which the mourners' feet
    Pursue to the waiting tomb!

    They follow one, who calmly goes
    From her own loved mansion-door,
    Nor shrinks from the way through gathered snows,
    To return to her home no more.

    A sable line, to the drift-crowned hill
    The narrow pass they wind;
    And here, where all is drear and chill,
    Their friend they leave behind.

    The silent grave they're bending o'er,
    A long farewell to take;
    One last, last look, and then, no more
    Till the dead shall all awake!

  52. A Country Burial

    by Emily Dickinson

    Ample make this bed.
    Make this bed with awe;
    In it wait till judgment break
    Excellent and fair.

    Be its mattress straight,
    Be its pillow round;
    Let no sunrise' yellow noise
    Interrupt this ground.

  53. The Funeral

    by Emily Dickinson

    That short, potential stir
    That each can make but once,
    That bustle so illustrious
    'T is almost consequence,

    Is the eclat of death.
    Oh, thou unknown renown
    That not a beggar would accept,
    Had he the power to spurn!

  54. The Grave and the Dead

  55. Under the Violets

    by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

    Her hands are cold; her face is white;
    No more her pulses come and go;
    Her eyes are shut to life and light;—
    Fold the white vesture, snow on snow,
    And lay her where the violets blow.

    But not beneath a graven stone,
    To plead for tears with alien eyes;
    A slender cross of wood alone
    Shall say, that here a maiden lies
    In peace beneath the peaceful skies.

    And gray old trees of hugest limb
    Shall wheel their circling shadows round
    To make the scorching sunlight dim
    That drinks the greenness from the ground,
    And drop their dead leaves on her mound.

    When o'er their boughs the squirrels run,
    And through their leaves the robins call,
    And, ripening in the autumn sun,
    The acorns and the chestnuts fall,
    Doubt not that she will heed them all.

    For her the morning choir shall sing
    Its matins from the branches high,
    And every minstrel-voice of Spring,
    That trills beneath the April sky,
    Shall greet her with its earliest cry.

    When, turning round their dial-track,
    Eastward the lengthening shadows pass,
    Her little mourners, clad in black,
    The crickets, sliding through the grass,
    Shall pipe for her an evening mass.

    At last the rootlets of the trees
    Shall find the prison where she lies,
    And bear the buried dust they seize
    In leaves and blossoms to the skies.
    So may the soul that warmed it rise!

    If any, born of kindlier blood,
    Should ask, What maiden lies below?
    Say only this: A tender bud,
    That tried to blossom in the snow,
    Lies withered where the violets blow.

  56. Elegy in a Country Churchyard

    by Thomas Gray

    The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
    The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea,
    The plowman homeward plods his weary way,
    And leaves the world to darkness and to me.

    Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
    And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
    Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
    And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds:

    Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tower,
    The moping owl does to the moon complain
    Of such as, wandering near her secret bower,
    Molest her ancient solitary reign.

    Beneath those rugged elms, that yew tree's shade,
    Where heaves the turf in many a moldering heap,
    Each in his narrow cell forever laid,
    The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.

    The breezy call of incense-breathing morn,
    The swallow twittering from the straw-built shed,
    The cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
    No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.

    For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
    Or busy housewife ply her evening care;
    No children run to lisp their sire's return,
    Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share.

    Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield,
    Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke:
    How jocund did they drive their team afield!
    How bowed the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!

    Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
    Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
    Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile
    The short and simple annals of the poor.

    The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
    And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
    Await alike, the inevitable hour:
    The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

    Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault,
    If Memory o'er their tomb no trophies raise;
    Where, through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault,
    The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.

    Can storied urn, or animated bust,
    Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
    Can Honor's voice provoke the silent dust,
    Or Flattery soothe the dull, cold ear of Death?

    Perhaps, in this neglected spot is laid
    Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;
    Hands, that the rod of empire might have swayed,
    Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre:

    But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page,
    Rich with the spoils of time, did ne'er unroll;
    Chill Penury repressed their noble rage,
    And froze the genial current of the soul.

    Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
    The dark, unfathomed caves of ocean bear:
    Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
    And waste its sweetness on the desert air.

    Some village Hampden, that, with dauntless breast,
    The little tyrant of his fields withstood,
    Some mute, inglorious Milton here may rest,
    Some Cromwell, guiltless of his country's blood.

    The applause of listening senates to command,
    The threats of pain and ruin to despise,
    To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,
    And read their history in a nation's eyes,

    Their lot forbade: nor, circumscribed alone
    Their growing virtues, but their crimes confined;
    Forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne.
    And shut the gates of mercy on mankind,

    The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide,
    To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame,
    Or heap the shrine of luxury and pride,
    With incense kindled at the Muse's flame.

    Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife,
    Their sober wishes never learned to stray;
    Along the cool, sequestered vale of life,
    They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.

    Yet even these bones, from insult to protect,
    Some frail memorial still, erected nigh,
    With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture decked,
    Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.

    Their name, their years, spelt by the unlettered Muse,
    The place of fame and elegy supply;
    And many a holy text around she strews,
    That teach the rustic moralist to die.

    For who, to dumb forgetfulness a prey,
    This pleasing, anxious being e'er resigned,
    Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
    Nor cast one longing, lingering look behind?

    On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
    Some pious drops the closing eye requires;
    E'en from the tomb the voice of Nature cries,
    E'en in our ashes live their wonted fires.

    For thee, who, mindful of the unhonored dead,
    Dost in these lines their artless tale relate,
    If chance, by lonely contemplation led,
    Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate,—

    Haply some hoary-headed swain may say,
    "Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn
    Brushing, with hasty step, the dews away,
    To meet the sun upon the upland lawn:

    "There, at the foot of yonder nodding beech,
    That wreathes its old, fantastic roots so high,
    His listless length at noontide would he stretch,
    And pore upon the brook that babbles by.

    "Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,
    Muttering his wayward fancies, he would rove;
    Now, drooping, woeful-wan, like one forlorn,
    Or crazed with care, or crossed in hopeless love.

    "One morn, I missed him on the customed hill,
    Along the heath, and near his favorite tree:
    Another came; nor yet beside the rill,
    Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he:

    "The next, with dirges due, in sad array
    Slow through the church-way path we saw him borne:—
    Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay`
    'Graved on the stone beneath yon aged thorn."


    Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth,
    A youth, to Fortune and to Fame unknown:
    Fair Science frowned not on his humble birth,
    And Melancholy marked him for her own.

    Large was his bounty and his soul sincere,
    Heaven did a recompense as largely send:
    He gave to Misery (all he had) a tear;
    He gained from Heaven ('t was all he wished) a friend.

    No farther seek his merits to disclose,
    Or draw his frailties from their dread abode
    (There they alike in trembling hope repose),
    The bosom of his Father, and his God.

  57. I died for beauty, but was scarce

    by Emily Dickinson

    I died for beauty, but was scarce
    Adjusted in the tomb,
    When one who died for truth was lain
    In an adjoining room.

    He questioned softly why I failed?
    "For beauty," I replied.
    "And I for truth, — the two are one;
    We brethren are," he said.

    And so, as kinsmen met a night,
    We talked between the rooms,
    Until the moss had reached our lips,
    And covered up our names.

  58. The Forgotten Grave

    by Emily Dickinson

    After a hundred years
    Nobody knows the place, —
    Agony, that enacted there,
    Motionless as peace.

    Weeds triumphant ranged,
    Strangers strolled and spelled
    At the lone orthography
    Of the elder dead.

    Winds of summer fields
    Recollect the way, —
    Instinct picking up the key
    Dropped by memory.

  59. If I may have it when it's dead

    by Emily Dickinson

    If I may have it when it's dead
    I will contented be;
    If just as soon as breath is out
    It shall belong to me,

    Until they lock it in the grave,
    'T is bliss I cannot weigh,
    For though they lock thee in the grave,
    Myself can hold the key.

    Think of it, lover! I and thee
    Permitted face to face to be;
    After a life, a death we'll say, —
    For death was that, and this is thee.

  60. I wish I knew that woman's name

    by Emily Dickinson

    I wish I knew that woman's name,
    So, when she comes this way,
    To hold my life, and hold my ears,
    For fear I hear her say

    She's 'sorry I am dead,' again,
    Just when the grave and I
    Have sobbed ourselves almost to sleep, —
    Our only lullaby.

  61. Refuge

    by Emily Dickinson

    The clouds their backs together laid,
    The north begun to push,
    The forests galloped till they fell,
    The lightning skipped like mice;
    The thunder crumbled like a stuff —
    How good to be safe in tombs,
    Where nature's temper cannot reach,
    Nor vengeance ever comes!

  62. The grave my little cottage is

    by Emily Dickinson

    The grave my little cottage is,
    Where, keeping house for thee,
    I make my parlor orderly,
    And lay the marble tea,

    For two divided, briefly,
    A cycle, it may be,
    Till everlasting life unite
    In strong society.

  63. Safe in their alabaster chambers

    by Emily Dickinson

    Safe in their alabaster chambers,
    Untouched by morning and untouched by noon,
    Sleep the meek members of the resurrection,
    Rafter of satin, and roof of stone.

    Light laughs the breeze in her castle of sunshine;
    Babbles the bee in a stolid ear;
    Pipe the sweet birds in ignorant cadence, —
    Ah, what sagacity perished here!

    Grand go the years in the crescent above them;
    Worlds scoop their arcs, and firmaments row,
    Diadems drop and Doges surrender,
    Soundless as dots on a disk of snow.

  64. The Monument

    by Emily Dickinson

    She laid her docile crescent down,
    And this mechanic stone
    Still states, to dates that have forgot,
    The news that she is gone.

    So constant to its stolid trust,
    The shaft that never knew,
    It shames the constancy that fled
    Before its emblem flew.

  65. The Harp That Once Through Tara's Halls

    by Thomas Moore

    The harp that once through Tara’s halls
    The soul of music shed,
    Now hangs as mute on Tara’s walls
    As if that soul were fled.
    So sleeps the pride of former days,
    So glory’s thrill is o’er,
    And hearts, that once beat high for praise,
    Now feel that pulse no more.

    No more to chiefs and ladies bright
    The harp of Tara swells:
    The chord alone, that breaks at night,
    Its tale of ruin tells.
    Thus Freedom now so seldom wakes,
    The only throb she gives,
    Is when some heart indignant breaks,
    To show that still she lives.

  66. The Robe

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    'T was not the robe of state,
    Which the high and the haughty wear,
    That my busy hand, as the lamp burnt late,
    Was hastening to prepare.

    It had no clasp of gold,
    No diamond's dazzling blaze
    For the festive board; nor the graceful fold
    To float in the dance's maze.

    'T was not to wrap the breast,
    With gladness, light and warm,
    For the bride's attire—for the joyous guest;
    Nor to clothe the sufferer's form.

    'T was not the garb of wo
    We wear o'er an aching heart,
    When our eyes with bitter tears o'erflow,
    And our dearest ones depart.

    'T was what we all must bear
    To the cold, the lonely bed!
    'T was the spotless uniform they wear
    In the chambers of the dead!

    I saw a fair, young maid
    In the snowy vesture drest;
    So pure, she looked as one arrayed
    For the mansions of the blest.

    A smile had left its trace
    On her lip at the parting breath,
    And the beauty in that lovely face
    Was fixed with the seal of death!

  67. I noticed people disappeared

    by Emily Dickinson

    I noticed people disappeared,
    When but a little child, —
    Supposed they visited remote,
    Or settled regions wild.

    Now know I they both visited
    And settled regions wild,
    But did because they died, — a fact
    Withheld the little child!

  68. I wonder if the sepulchre

    by Emily Dickinson

    I wonder if the sepulchre
    Is not a lonesome way,
    When men and boys, and larks and June
    Go down the fields to hay!

  69. Waiting

    I stand amid the eternal ways.

    – John Burroughs
    by John Burroughs

    Serene, I fold my hands and wait,
    Nor care for wind, nor tide, nor sea;
    I rave no more 'gainst time or fate,
    For lo! my own shall come to me.

    I stay my haste, I make delays,
    For what avails this eager pace?
    I stand amid the eternal ways,
    And what is mine shall know my face.

    Asleep, awake, by night or day,
    The friends I seek are seeking me;
    No wind can drive my bark astray,
    Nor change the tide of destiny.

    What matter if I stand alone?
    I wait with joy the coming years;
    My heart shall reap where it hath sown,
    And garner up its fruit of tears.

    The waters know their own and draw
    The brook that springs in yonder height;
    So flows the good with equal law
    Unto the soul of pure delight.

    The stars come nightly to the sky;
    The tidal wave unto the sea;
    Nor time, nor space, nor deep, nor high,
    Can keep my own away from me.

  70. Requiescat

    by Oscar Wilde

    Tread lightly, she is near
    Under the snow,
    Speak gently, she can hear
    The daisies grow.

    All her bright golden hair
    Tarnished with rust,
    She that was young and fair
    Fallen to dust.

    Lily-like, white as snow,
    She hardly knew
    She was a woman, so
    Sweetly she grew.

    Coffin-board, heavy stone,
    Lie on her breast,
    I vex my heart alone,
    She is at rest.

    Peace, Peace, she cannot hear
    Lyre or sonnet,
    All my life’s buried here,
    Heap earth upon it.


  71. A Sister's Love

    by Kate Slaughter McKinney

    She knelt beside her brother’s grave,
    The day was near its close;
    And where the cool, tall grasses wave,
    She lay a fresh-cut rose.
    Then, from a silver waiter near,
    She drew a wreath of white,
    Besprinkled with the twilight’s tear,
    O’ershaded with the night,
    And placed them on the green-kept mound.
    I watched her kneeling there,
    Her face bent on the sacred ground,
    In attitude of prayer;
    And while a bird sang soft his hymn,
    Down-looking from above,
    We saw unveiled a picture dim—
    A statue true of love.

  72. Oblivion

    by John Charles McNeill

    Green moss will creep
    Along the shady graves where we shall sleep.

    Each year will bring
    Another brood of birds to nest and sing.

    At dawn will go
    New ploughmen to the fields we used to know.

    Night will call home
    The hunter from the hills we loved to roam.

    She will not ask,
    The milkmaid, singing softly at her task,

    Nor will she care
    To know if I were brave or you were fair.

    No one will think
    What chalice life had offered us to drink,

    When from our clay
    The sun comes back to kiss the snow away.

    Mottled with moss,
    Each gravestone holds to heaven a patient Cross.

    – John Charles McNeill
    Gray Days

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