Verse > Anthologies > James and Mary Ford, eds. > Every Day in the Year
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James and Mary Ford, eds.  Every Day in the Year.  1902.
 
May 3
Stanzas to the Memory of Thomas Hood
By Bartholomew Simmons (d. 1850)
 
          Thomas Hood, poet and humorist, and author of “The Bridge of Sighs” and “The Song of the Shirt,” died in London, May 3, 1845.

I.
TAKE back into thy bosom, Earth,
  This joyous, May-eyed morrow,
The gentlest child that ever Mirth
  Gave to be reared by Sorrow!
’Tis hard—while rays half green, half gold,        5
  Through vernal bowers are burning,
And streams their diamond-mirrors hold
  To Summer’s face returning—
To say we’re thankful that his sleep
  Shall never more be lighter,        10
In whose sweet-tongued companionship
  Stream, bower, and beam grew brighter!
 
II.
But all the more intensely true
  His soul gave out each feature
Of elemental love—each hue        15
  And grace of golden Nature—
The deeper still beneath it all
  Lurked the keen jags of anguish;
The more the laurels clasped his brow
  Their poison made it languish.        20
Seemed it that like the nightingale
  Of his own mournful singing,
The tenderer would his song prevail
  While most the thorn was stinging.
 
III.
So never to the desert-worn
        25
  Did fount bring freshness deeper,
Than that his placid rest this morn
  Has brought the shrouded sleeper.
That rest may lap his weary head
  Where charnels choke the city,        30
Or where, mid woodlands, by his bed
  The wren shall wake its ditty;
But near or far, while evening’s star
  Is dear to hearts regretting,
Around that spot admiring Thought        35
  Shall hover, unforgetting.
 
IV.
And if this sentient, seething world
  Is, after all, ideal,
Or in the Immaterial furled
  Alone resides the real,        40
Freed one! there’s a wail for thee this hour
  Through thy loved Elves’ dominions;
Hushed is each tiny trumpet-flower,
  And droopeth Ariel’s pinions;
Even Puck, dejected, leaves his swing,        45
  To plan, with fond endeavor,
What pretty buds and dews shall keep
  Thy pillow bright for ever.
 
V.
And higher, if less happy, tribes—
  The race of early childhood—        50
Shall miss thy whims of frolic wit,
  That in the summer wild-wood,
Or by the Christmas hearth, were hailed,
  And hoarded as a treasure
Of undecaying merriment        55
  And ever-changing pleasure.
Things from thy lavish humor flung
  Profuse as scents, are flying
This kindling morn, when blooms are born
  As fast as blooms are dying.        60
 
VI.
Sublimer Art owned thy control—
  The minstrel’s mightiest magic,
With sadness to subdue the soul,
  Or thrill it with the tragic.
Now listening Aram’s fearful dream,        65
  We see beneath the willow
That dreadful Thing, or watch him steal,
  Guilt-lighted, to his pillow.
Now with thee roaming ancient groves,
  We watch the woodman felling        70
The funeral elm, while through its boughs
  The ghostly wind comes knelling.
 
VII.
Dear worshipper of Dian’s face
  In solitary places,
Shalt thou no more steal, as of yore,        75
  To meet her white embraces?
Is there no purple in the rose
  Henceforward to thy senses?
For thee have dawn and daylight’s close
  Lost their sweet influences?        80
No!—by the mental night untamed
  Thou took’st to Death’s dark portal,
The joy of the wide universe
  Is now to thee immortal!
 
VIII.
How fierce contrasts the city’s roar
        85
  With thy new-conquered quiet!—
This stunning hell of wheels that pour
  With princes to their riot!
Loud clash the crowds—the busy clouds
  With thunder-noise are shaken,        90
While pale, and mute, and cold, afar
  Thou liest, men-forsaken.
Hot life reeks on, nor recks that one
  —The playful, human-hearted—
Who lent its clay less earthiness,        95
  Is just from earth departed.
 
 
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