Verse > Anthologies > Alfred H. Miles, ed. > The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century
Alfred H. Miles, ed.  The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century.  1907.
Amenophis and Other Poems (1892).
VIII. Death and the Fear of It
By Francis Turner Palgrave (1824–1897)
LORD! How fast the minutes fly
’Twixt us and the hour we die!
Days are weeks before we know;
Weeks to months untimely grow;
And behind each glad New Year        5
Death his ambush sets more near.
Death!—by whomsoever heard,
’Mongst all words most fearful word!
—Quit each thing familiar here!
Face to face with God appear!        10
Change no mortal tongue can tell:—
All’s in that one syllable!
Hour of dread farewells to be!
Faces more than life to me;
Little lips that beg me stay;        15
Tears I shall not wipe away;
Faithful hand, yet clasp’d in mine:—
Death Triumphant!—all is thine!
Author of man’s mystic lot,
God, Thy ways as ours are not:        20
Thou hast destined us to be
Seized by death, yet safe in Thee:
Love Immortal casting out
Feverish fear, and freezing doubt.
—In the spaces of the night,        25
In the depths of dim affright,
Jesus, with our trials tried,
Do not Thou forsake my side!
Childlike on Thy faithful breast
Hold my heart, and bid me rest.        30
Like a sword above my head
Death is hanging by a thread;
Yet, O gracious Lord on high,
Surely Thou wilt hear my cry,
By Thy life laid down for me        35
Turning death to victory!
Only this can light the grave,
Thou hast died:—and Thou wilt save:—
Thou by lying low in earth
Hast assured our second birth,        40
Bidding in the sunless tomb
Amaranthine roses bloom.
If the spirit shivering shrink
From annihilation’s brink,
Through the soul like sunshine come,        45
—“Death is but another womb:
Born through woe to human breath,
Ye are born to God through death.”
—Nearer than the nearest by,
Be beside me when I die!        50
With Thy strength my weakness nerve
Ne’er through fear from faith to swerve;
So, Death’s storm-vex’d portal past,
Safe in Thee to sleep at last.

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