Cordula's Web. In Memoriam.
In Memoriam. Copyright © 2004 Cordula's Web. Gallery 22


Constance Naden

Precious glimpses through the future's curtain
He may catch, who sees the past unveiled;
Else, in seeking for a goal uncertain,
Blindly groping, will and heart had failed.

What were love, its faded flowers uncherished?
What were life, its bygone days forgot?
Memory may live, when hope has perished;
Hope were dead, if we remembered not.

All our past, in colours soft and tender,
Stretches backward, till it melts in night;
While the future, robed in hazy splendour,
Shows us transient phantoms of delight;

Glorified reflections of the present;
Spirits of the days that once have been;
Hopes of bright perfection, when life's crescent
Fills the orbëd outline, dimly seen.

Yesterday's delights will haunt to-morrow,
Subtle essences of vanished joys,
Till the spectre of remembered sorrow
Their ethereal witchery destroys.

Rays of memory have sunned our pleasure;
In the self-same light regret will spring;
Sorrow is man's burden, yet his treasure;
Proves him servant, yet proclaims him king.

Sharpest anguish, meaner things besetting,
Finds a perfect and a swift relief:
Man alone, immortal, unforgetting
Wears the sombre coronal of grief.

In his heart a quenchless fire is burning,
Kindled ere his conscious life began:
Lord of restless thought and noble yearning
Reigns in loneliness the soul of man.

Yet the earth must yield him free communion,
Heights of heaven his daring hope must gain,
Till he joy in that eternal union
Which the struggling spirit may attain.

Linking Past, and Present, and Hereafter
Man shall find a staff, where seems a rod:
Solemn memories, that check his laughter,
Draw him nearer to the heart of God.