[from Island Minstrelsy, 1839]
Ay ! but to die,
This sensible warm motion to become
A kneaded clod: 'tis too horrible !
ALAS, sweet sister, hope no more for me,
For I am dying-dying! Blessed God!
I would not murmur at my destiny,
But bend me to Thy will, and "kiss the rod."
Yes, I am dying! Earth can do no more;
My life is ebbing rapidly away;
The parting struggle will be shortly o'er,
And I shall pass from the fair face of day-
Unto an early grave amid the hills
A sleep that shall be dreamless:-yet 'tis best;
Mine no wrecked hope shall be-no pang that kills.
Oh God, 'tis just !- I bow to Thy behest!
Yes, I am dying!-Cling not as the vine
Unto my soul, sister!-I must depart :
Oh ye beloved ones, do not seek to twine
Your earthly fetters closer round my heart!
For I must leave ye,-tho' the village bell
Is ringing out its most heart-cheering peal;
Gay, gloriously-triumphant doth it swell
On the young breeze to heaven; yet, oh! I feel
Such bridal peal for me may never ring
Its joyous burden. I shall lay my head
Where the warm sunbeams ever gently fling
Their brightest haloes o'er the early dead.
Yet, I had dreams of happiness to come
Upon the laughing face of God's fair earth
Unmingled happiness and bliss with some
That will regret me at the board and hearth:
Tell her I loved her to the last-the last!
True, I am young to love; yet so it is.
Oh, that this bitterness of death were past !
Oh, that my spirit were in heaven's bliss!
And I am young to die!-ay, young to leave
The pleasant voices and the mountain streams ;
I who so vividly sweet dreams could weave
Of life and love and hope-(ay, they were dreams!)
And bless the God who gave me faculties
So to enjoy and hope, and to rejoice
In His most glorious earth.-By His decrees
The spell is broken, broken!-yea, the voice
The voice you cannot hear hath whispered me,
And angel forms do beckon; yes, I go
Unto a home in blest eternity.
Sisters, I did not think to leave ye so,
In my young morn of manhood! Sisters, come
Nearer unto your brother ;--he departs.
Ye will be lonely in your simple home,
But guard his memory within your hearts,
And plant young roses o'er his early grave ;
And, sisters-sisters! lead her to the spot,
And kneel together where the willows wave.
In death, in dust, I would not be forgot.
Farewell, my sisters!-oh, a long adieu!
The day seems passing from me;-yet, come near;
I still would cling to life to gaze on you
And her who made existence doubly dear.
And this is dying!-Oh! the agony
Of the departing spirit!-Sisters, now
Kneel in your sorrowing, and pray for me.
And wipe the cold, cold death-dew from my brow;
Pray that the struggle may be quickly o'er;
Pray !-Oh! I bless ye with my latest breath!
Weep not, my sisters !-I shall moan no more!
Weep not!-I bless ye in the throes of-death !