Portrait of Henry Timrod

Henry Timrod

Dec 8, 1828 - Oct 6, 1867


Hymn (Whose was the hand that painted thee, O Death!)

by Henry Timrod

Sung at the consecration of Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston, (S.C.)

Whose was the hand that painted thee, O Death!
In the false aspect of a ruthless foe,
Despair and sorrow waiting on thy breath --
O gentle Power! who could have wronged thee so?

Thou rather should'st be crowned with fadeless flowers,
Of lasting fragrance and celestial hue;
Or be thy couch amid funereal bowers,
But let the stars and sunlight sparkle through.

So, with these thoughts before us, we have fixed
And beautified, O Death! thy mansion here,
Where gloom and gladness -- grave and garden -- mixed,
Make it a place to love and not to fear.

Heaven! shed thy most propitious dews around!
Ye holy stars! look down with tender eyes,
And gild and guard, and consecrate the ground
Where we may rest, and whence we pray to rise.


Copyright 1860
Ticknor And Fields, Boston
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