Verse > Anthologies > Thomas R. Lounsbury, ed. > Yale Book of American Verse
Thomas R. Lounsbury, ed. (1838–1915). Yale Book of American Verse.  1912.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. 1807–1882
67. Resignation
THERE is no flock, however watched and tended, 
  But one dead lamb is there! 
There is no fireside, howsoe'er defended, 
  But has one vacant chair! 
The air is full of farewells to the dying,         5
  And mournings for the dead; 
The heart of Rachel, for her children crying, 
  Will not be comforted! 
Let us be patient! These severe afflictions 
  Not from the ground arise,  10
But oftentimes celestial benedictions 
  Assume this dark disguise. 
We see but dimly through the mists and vapors; 
  Amid these earthly damps 
What seem to us but sad, funereal tapers  15
  May be heaven's distant lamps. 
There is no Death! What seems so is transition; 
  This life of mortal breath 
Is but a suburb of the life elysian, 
  Whose portal we call Death.  20
She is not dead,—the child of our affection,— 
  But gone unto that school 
Where she no longer needs our poor protection, 
  And Christ himself doth rule. 
In that great cloister's stillness and seclusion,  25
  By guardian angels led, 
Safe from temptation, safe from sin's pollution, 
  She lives, whom we call dead, 
Day after day we think what she is doing 
  In those bright realms of air;  30
Year after year, her tender steps pursuing, 
  Behold her grown more fair. 
Thus do we walk with her, and keep unbroken 
  The bond which nature gives, 
Thinking that our remembrance, though unspoken,  35
  May reach her where she lives. 
Not as a child shall we again behold her; 
  For when with raptures wild 
In our embraces we again enfold her, 
  She will not be a child;  40
But a fair maiden, in her Father's mansion, 
  Clothed with celestial grace; 
And beautiful with all the soul's expansion 
  Shall we behold her face. 
And though at times impetuous with emotion  45
  And anguish long suppressed, 
The swelling heart heaves moaning like the ocean, 
  That cannot be at rest,— 
We will be patient, and assuage the feeling 
  We may not wholly stay;  50
By silence sanctifying, not concealing, 
  The grief that must have way. 

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