Cordula's Web. Evening Sky over Kaarst.
Evening Sky over Kaarst. Copyright © 2003 Cordula's Web. Gallery 12

Amiable Death

Caroline Clive

There beat a heart whose life was grown
A thing by Grief made all its own;
Which felt Affliction's heavy power,
Each minute of each weary hour;

And counted every day that pass'd,
By being bitterer than the last.
Then came full many a lovely thing,
A comfort to his woe to bring,

And tried by smile, and play, and jest,
To melt the icebands from his breast.
Mirth, with her eye half hid below
The archly drooping lid of snow,

Danced near with feet as quick and bright
As glances from the wave the light,
And called him from his trance away,
To think no more, but laugh and play.

But oh! that sweet, fantastic grace,
Met nought responsive in his face;
His heavy eye looked up in vain,
The brightness of her eye to gain;

It seemed his heart but ill could brook
The stir and sparkle of her look,
And while she still her revel kept,
He turned and hid his face, and wept.

* * * * *

Then Splendor came, and pour'd his store
Till Fancy could conceive no more;
And gave whatever Pride and Power
Could ask to deck their stateliest bow'r;

But sad the fold and purple press'd
Upon the mourner's aching breast;
And harsh the jewels' ray to him,
Whose weary sight with tears was dim.

He ever saw, 'mid all they gave,
The damp walls of a narrow grave;
The coffin where his gaze had strain'd,
To see the form that lid contain'd;

And heard, 'mid every festive spell,
The clods that on that coffin fell.

"Oh! give me one, one kiss again,
Of lips that press'd themselves on mine;
What worth thy brightness and thy bloom,
While they are withering in the tomb?"

* * * * *

Next Wit drew near, all objects proving;
His quiv'ring wings for ever moving;
Which as they met the sober rays
That fell upon their living blaze,

Untwisted all the hues of light,
And gave a rainbow back to sight.
But he, the mourner, turned aside,
And thought how Love and Peace had died;

He could not see Wit's dazzling flame,
For still, between, his dark thoughts came;
He could not hear the voice of Wit,
For there was Sorrow's drowning it.

* * * * *

Then came a form, whose steady eye
Unchanged let all things pass him by;
And pale and calm, came gazing on
Up to the sorrow-stricken one.

The wretch uprais'd his languid head,
And hail'd that wish'd-one's ling'ring tread;
And bared his breast, thereon to fold
The long'd-for touch, serene and cold.

"Lost friend! 'tis thou canst do," he cried,
"What Mirth, and Wit, and Splendour tried;
Touch my hot heart, and weeping eye,
The heart will freeze, the lid will dry;

Unchain my soul, and let it be
Free 'mid the spirits of the free."
He spoke, and with departing breath
Bless'd the restoring hand of Death.

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