Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
In Pace
Arthur Reed Ropes (b. 1859)
WHEN you are dead some day, my dear,
  Quite dead and under ground,
Where you will never see or hear
  A summer sight or sound,
What shall remain of you in death,        5
  When all our songs to you
Are silent as the bird whose breath
  Has sung the summer through?
I wonder, will you ever wake,
  And with tired eyes again        10
Live for your old life’s little sake
  An age of joy or pain?
Shall some stern destiny control
  That perfect form, wherein
I hardly see enough of soul        15
  To make your life a sin?
For, we have heard, for all men born
  One harvest-day prepares
Its golden garners for the corn,
  And fire to burn the tares;        20
But who shall gather into sheaves,
  Or turn aside to blame
The poppies’ puckered helpless leaves,
  Blown bells of scarlet flame?
No hate so hard, no love so bold        25
  To seek your bliss or woe;
You are too sweet for hell to hold,
  And heaven would tire you so.
A little while your joy shall be,
  And when you crave for rest        30
The earth shall take you utterly
  Again into her breast.
And we will find a quiet place
  For your still sepulchre,
And lay the flowers upon your face        35
  Sweet as your kisses were,
And with hushed voices void of mirth
  Spread the light turf above,
Soft as the silk you loved on earth
  As much as you could love.        40
Few tears, but once, our eyes shall shed,
  Nor will we sigh at all,
But come and look upon your bed
  When the warm sunlights fall.
Upon that grave no tree of fruit        45
  Shall grow, nor any grain,
Only one flower of shallow root
  That will not spring again.


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