Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
 
From ‘A Dead March’
By William Cosmo Monkhouse (1840–1901)
 
PLAY me a march lowtoned and slow—a march for a silent tread,
Fit for the wandering feet of one who dreams of the silent dead,
Lonely, between the bones below and the souls that are overhead.
 
Here for awhile they smiled and sang, alive in the interspace;
Here with the grass beneath the foot, and the stars above the face,        5
Now are their feet beneath the grass, and whither has flown their grace?
 
Who shall assure us whence they come or tell us the way they go?
Verily, life with them was joy, and now they have left us, woe;
Once they were not, and now they are not, and this is the sum we know….
 
Why do we mourn the days that go—for the same sun shines each day,        10
Ever a spring her primrose hath, and ever a May her may—
Sweet as the rose that died last year, is the rose that is born to-day.
 
Do we not too return, we men, as ever the round earth whirls?
Never a head is dimm’d with gray, but another is sunn’d with curls,
She was a girl and he was a boy, but yet there are boys and girls.        15
 
Ah, but alas for the smile of smiles that never but one face wore!
Ah for the voice that has flown away like a bird to an unseen shore!
Ah for the face—the flower of flowers—that blossoms on earth no more!
 
 
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