Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. III. Sorrow and Consolation
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume III. Sorrow and Consolation.  1904.
 
V. Death and Bereavement
On Anne Allen
Edward Fitzgerald (1809–1883)
 
THE WIND blew keenly from the Western sea,
And drove the dead leaves slanting from the tree—
  Vanity of vanities, the Preacher saith—
Heaping them up before her Father’s door
When I saw her whom I shall see no more—        5
  We cannot bribe thee, Death.
 
She went abroad the falling leaves among,
She saw the merry season fade, and sung—
  Vanity of vanities the Preacher saith—
Freely she wandered in the leafless wood,        10
And said that all was fresh, and fair, and good—
  She knew thee not, O Death.
 
She bound her shining hair across her brow,
She went into the garden fading now;
  Vanity of vanities the Preacher saith—        15
And if one sighed to think that it was sere,
She smiled to think that it would bloom next year!
  She feared thee not, O Death.
 
Blooming she came back to the cheerful room
With all the fairer flowers yet in bloom—        20
  Vanity of vanities the Preacher saith—
A fragrant knot for each of us she tied,
And placed the fairest at her Father’s side—
  She cannot charm thee, Death.
 
Her pleasant smile spread sunshine upon all;        25
We heard her sweet clear laughter in the Hall—
  Vanity of vanities the Preacher saith—
We heard her sometimes after evening prayer,
As she went singing softly up the stair—
  No voice can charm thee, Death.        30
 
Where is the pleasant smile, the laughter kind,
That made sweet music of the winter wind?
  Vanity of vanities the Preacher saith—
Idly they gaze upon her empty place,
Her kiss hath faded from her Father’s face—        35
  She is with thee, O Death.
 
 
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