A Brother's Grave

In the Church's shadow holy,
Where the tall yews darkly wave,
Spring the wild flowers, sweet and lowly,
O'er our Brother's early grave.
Mother, haste; the sunset brightly
Tints yon western cloud with red,
Fair young sister, tread thou lightly
Thro' the calm and quiet dead.

With the summer breezes blending,
With the vesper's lingering chime,
Sweet soft voices, hence ascending,
Fill the solemn twilight time.
Thus they whisper: “Mourners weary,
Dry the fond and fruitless tear;
Hopeless heart, or spirit dreary,
Christian kindred, bring not here.

“We would speak of chasten'd gladness,
Mindful of our former trust,
Whom with words of hopeful sadness,
Earth to earth, and dust to dust,
Ye with thought of future glory,
Here have laid with prayers and vows,
Like red leaves in forest hoary,
Fallen from the Autumn boughs.

“Like departing stars, whose morrow
Is in climes more bright and blest,
Stand not ye in idle sorrow
Brooding o'er our churchyard rest.
Ye still erring, and still mortal,
Striving yet with sin and care,
Turn ye to yon old grey portal,
Seek the courts of praise and prayer.

“In the certain hope he giveth,
Three days bound in mortal sleep,
In whose life, whoever liveth,
Death's cold hand shall never keep;
Bend ye by yon hallow'd altar,
Shed the penitential tear,
Ask the faith that shall not falter,
Learn the love that knows not fear.

“Then, once more with cheerful faces,
Patient hearts and spirits bold,
Each within your earthly places,
Fight where we have fought of old,
That when toil, strife, pain, are over,
And the same sweet dirge is said,
You the same green turf may cover,
Resting with the blessed dead.”

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