By The Fireside



    There is no flock, however watched and tended,
        But one dead lamb is there!
    There is no fireside, howsoe'er defended,
        But has one vacant chair!

    The air is full of farewells to the dying,
        And mournings for the dead;
    The heart of Rachel, for her children crying,
        Will not be comforted!

    Let us be patient!    These severe afflictions
        Not from the ground arise,
    But oftentimes celestial benedictions
        Assume this dark disguise.

    We see but dimly through the mists and vapors;
        Amid these earthly damps
    What seem to us but sad, funereal tapers
        May be heaven's distant lamps.

    There is no Death!    What seems so is transition;
        This life of mortal breath
    Is but a suburb of the life elysian,
        Whose portal we call Death.

    She is not dead,--the child of our affection,--
        But gone unto that school
    Where she no longer needs our poor protection,
        And Christ himself doth rule.

    In that great cloister's stillness and seclusion,
        By guardian angels led,
    Safe from temptation, safe from sin's pollution,
        She lives, whom we call dead.

    Day after day we think what she is doing
        In those bright realms of air;
    Year after year, her tender steps pursuing,
        Behold her grown more fair.

    Thus do we walk with her, and keep unbroken
        The bond which nature gives,
    Thinking that our remembrance, though unspoken,
        May reach her where she lives.

    Not as a child shall we again behold her;
        For when with raptures wild
    In our embraces we again enfold her,
        She will not be a child;

    But a fair maiden, in her Father's mansion,
        Clothed with celestial grace;
    And beautiful with all the soul's expansion
        Shall we behold her face.

    And though at times impetuous with emotion
        And anguish long suppressed,
    The swelling heart heaves moaning like the ocean,
        That cannot be at rest,--

    We will be patient, and assuage the feeling
        We may not wholly stay;
    By silence sanctifying, not concealing,
        The grief that must have way.


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