My Old Friends

They lie at rest asleep and dead,
The dew drops cool above their head,
They knew not when past summer fled —
Amen .

They lie at rest and quite forget
The hopes and fears that wring us yet;
Their eyes are set, their heart is set —
Amen .

They lie with us, yet gone away
Hear nothing that we sob or say
Beneath the thorn of wintry may —
Miserere .

Together all yet each alone,
Each laid at rest beneath his own
Smooth turf or white appointed stone —
Amen .

When shall our slumbers be so deep,
And bleeding heart and eyes that weep
Lie lapped in the sufficient sleep? —
Miserere .

We dream of them: and who shall say
They never dream while far away
Of us between the night and day? —
Sursum corda .

Gone far away: or it may be
They lean toward us and hear and see
Yea and remember more than we —
Amen .

For wherefore should we deem them far
Who know not where those spirits are
That shall outshine both moon and star? —
Hallelujah .

Where check or change can never rise
Deep in recovered Paradise
They rest world-wearied heart and eyes —
Jubilate .

We hope and love with throbbing breast,
They hope and love and are at rest:
And yet we question which is best —
Miserere .

Oh what is earth, that we should build
Brief houses here, and seek concealed
Poor treasure, and add field to field

And heap to heap and store to store,
Still grasping, ever grasping more,
While death stands knocking at our door? —

Cui bono?

But one will answer: Changed and pale
And starved at heart, I thirst I fail
For love, I thirst without avail —
Miserrima .

Sweet love, a fountain sealed to me:
Mere love, the sole sufficiency
For every longing that can be —
Amen .

Oh happy those alone whose lot
Is love: I search from spot to spot;
In life, in death, I find it not —
Miserrima .

Not found in life: nay, verily.
I too have sought: come sit with me
And grief for grief shall answer thee —
Miserrima .

Sit with me where the sapless leaves
Are fallen and sere: to one who grieves
What cheer have last year's harvest sheaves? —
Cui bono?

Not found in life: yet found in death.
I sought life as but a breath
There is a nest of love beneath

The sod, a home prepared before;
Our brethren whom one mother bore
Live there, and toil and ache no more —
Hallelujah .
Dear friends and kinsfolk great and small;
Not lost but saved both one and all:
They watch across the parting wall

(Do they not watch?) and count the creep
Of time, and sound the shallowing deep,
Till we in port shall also sleep —
Hallelujah, Amen .
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