Holy Dying

Calm is the parting hour,
When death with sovereign power
Throws o'er the righteous soul his heavy chain:
Nor doubt, nor dread attend,
While round him loved ones bend;
But peace celestial mocks the body's pain.

He sees the links of earth
Part; and his final birth
To perfect holiness, with raptured eye:
Behind, a vale of tears,
In cloud and shade appears;
Before, the heaven-bright fields of promise lie.

His friends hang round and weep,
While, like an infant's sleep,
The chilling lethargy of death steals on;
And o'er his eye the glaze
Falls, and the spirit's blaze
Flashes for once, and all of earth is done.

How silent, like the breath
Of morning, was that death!
No agony nor torturing thought was there:
And what a holy smile
Plays round those lips the while,
And how, like heaven's own arch, that brow is fair!

O, may my footsteps tread
This path, by virtue led,
And God's own day-star, till I sink in dust;
And when I lay me down
To sleep, O, may the crown
Shine on my eye, that circles round the just!
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