Passing The Church
by James Nack
Oft as I pass St. Thomas' Church,
A kindly glance I throw
Where sleeps a friend I daily met,
Some twenty years ago.
And thinking of those happy times,
As slowly past I wend,
I scarce forbear to touch my hat,
Good morning, friend!
Nor is it with uncheerful mind
That I his memory greet --
More years have past since we have met
Than shall before we meet.
And sweetly placid seems his rest,
Though near his silent bed
The tide of life rolls thundering by,
As it would wake the dead.
Who knows but yet some consciousness
May linger under ground?
Who knows but yet, with genial smile,
He looks on all around?
The busy throngs, beset with cares
It once was his to know --
The dashing belles, who rival those
He loved so long ago.
And hark the heavy tramp of steeds --
Of men the measured tread --
The clang of trumps -- the roll of drums --
Wake, soldier! -- lift thy head!
Bright weapons glitter in the sun;
Proud banners flout the sky;
Up, soldier! mount thy prancing steed,
And wave thy sword on high!
In vain -- Earth could not tempt him back
With all that pleased him best --
For better worth than all she gave,
His call and quiet rest!
And, therefore, in the city's midst,
Serenely doth he lie,
Regardless of the storm of life
That rushes madly by.
For me -- far from the city's din,
Be mine some rustic tomb,
Where trees shall wave above the sod,
And flowers around it bloom.
Life's bustling scenes have been to me
But scenes of pain and care --
I would not have them round my bed,
When I am sleeping there!
Yet friendly steps will seek my grave,
Wherever that may be;
And loving lips shall bless my name,
As now -- unheard by me!
No want of fervent tears or prayers,
Could those recall me here --
But what can love or friendship say
To death's regardless ear?
Up, Poet! -- GLORY bids thee rise! --
Death shall not keep thee down!
Up, Poet! -- strike the harp divine,
And wear the immortal crown!
Rise! -- Earth restores all thou hast lost --
Fame -- fortune -- beauty's smile!
Unheeded proffers! -- though the last
Might tempt me for a while!
But speak not thou, my chosen one!
Of all beloved the best!
For Love is stronger than the grave
And thine would break my rest!
Source:The Romance Of The Ring, And Other Poems.
Delisser & Procter, 508 Broadway, New York