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.
Thoughts and Fancies (1887).
III. “O’er land and sea”
By Walter Chalmers Smith (1824–1908)
O’ER land and sea love follows with fond prayers
Its dear ones in their troubles, griefs, and cares;
            There is no spot
On which it does not drop this tender dew,
Except the grave, and there it bids adieu,        5
            And prayeth not.
Why should that be the only place uncheered
By prayer, which to our hearts is most endeared,
            And sacred grown?
Living, we sought for blessings on their head;        10
Why should our lips be sealed when they are dead,
            And we alone?
Idle? their doom is fixed? Ah! who can tell?
Yet, were it so, I think no harm could well
            Come of my prayer:        15
And O the heart, o’erburdened with its grief,
This comfort needs, and finds therein relief
            From its despair.
Shall God be wroth because we love them still,
And call upon His love to shield from ill        20
            Our dearest, best,
And bring them home, and recompense their pain,
And cleanse their sin, if any sin remain,
            And give them rest?
Nay, I will not believe it. I will pray        25
As for the living, for the dead each day.
            They will not grow
Less meet for heaven when followed by a prayer
To speed them home, like summer-scented air
            From long ago.        30
Who shall forbid the heart’s desires to flow
Beyond the limit of the things we know?
            In heaven above
The incense that the golden censers bear,
Is the sweet perfume from the saintly prayer        35
            Of trust and love.

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