Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1861–1889
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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889
 
Our Dead
By Arlo Bates (1850–1918)
 
[Sonnets in Shadow. 1887.]

WE must be nobler for our dead, be sure,
  Than for the quick. We might their living eyes
  Deceive with gloss of seeming; but all lies
Were vain to cheat a prescience spirit-pure.
 
Our soul’s true worth find aim, however poor,        5
  They see who watch us from some deathless skies
  With glance death-quickened. That no sad surprise
Sting them in seeing, be ours to secure.
 
Living, our loved ones make us what they dream;
  Dead, if they see, they know us as we are.        10
Henceforward we must be, not merely seem.
 
Bitterer woe than death it were by far
  To fail their hopes who love us to redeem;
Loss were thrice loss that thus their faith should mar.
 
 
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