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And the nearest approach to solace comes to him in the peace and silence of the lonely Autumn mornings, on the wild heath:

"Calm and deep peace in this wide air,

These leaves that redden to the fall;

And in my heart, if calm at all,
The calmness of a calm despair."

The usual letters of condolence arrive :

"One writes that 'Other friends remain,'
That Loss is common to the race,'—

And common is the common-place,

And vacant chaff, well meant for grain."

But his heart is elsewhere. In imagination he traverses distant waters, and reaches the ship coming homewards with its sad freight, the body of his friend:

"I hear the noise about the keel;

I hear the bell struck in the night;

I see the cabin window bright;

I see the sailor at the wheel."

At last the ship enters English waters, and the transference of his friend's body from foreign to English soil is memorialized in these exquisite lines: :

"The Danube to the Severn gave

The darken'd heart that beat no more;
They laid him by the pleasant shore,

And in the hearing of the wave.


There twice a day the Severn fills;
The salt sea-water passes by,

And hushes half the babbling Wye,
And makes a silence in the hills.

The Wye is hush'd, nor moved along,—
And hush'd my deepest grief of all,
When, fill'd with tears that cannot fall,
I brim with sorrow-drowning song.

The tide flows down, the wave again
Is vocal in its wooded walls;
My deeper anguish also falls,
And I can speak a little then."

'Nothing is now left but memory:

"The path by which we twain did go,
Which led by tracts that pleased us well,
Thro' four sweet years arose and fell,
From flower to flower, from snow to snow.

And we with singing cheer'd the way;
And, crown'd with all the season lent,
From April on to April went,

And glad at heart from May to May.

But where the path we walk'd began
To slant the fifth Autumnal slope,
As we descended, following Hope,
There sat the Shadow fear'd of man,-
Who broke our fair companionship,

And spread his mantle, dark and cold, And wrapt thee formless in the fold, And dull'd the murmur on thy lip,

And bore thee where I could not see,

Nor follow, though I walk in haste,

And think that, somewhere in the waste,
The Shadow sits and waits for me."

So months rolled on, and Christmas came—a sad anniversary for many who have lost dear friends. They may try the old pastimes, and the old songs; but the joy has faded out of life, and now it is pain that binds heart to heart, as once it was joy. But the memory of the dead seems to lift them up to a higher level, and their hearts are raised for a moment beyond the clouds of sorrow and death, into the heaven of consolation and peace :

"We paused: the winds were in the beech:
We heard them sweep the winter land ;

And in a circle hand in hand
Sat silent, looking each at each.

Then echo-like our voices rang;
We sang, tho' every eye was dim,
A merry song we sang with him
Last year; impetuously we sang.

We ceased: a gentler feeling crept

Upon us surely rest is meet.

'They rest,' we said; 'their rest is sweet,'—

And silence follow'd, and we wept.


Our voices took a higher range;

Once more we sang: 'They do not die,
Nor lose their mortal sympathy,

Nor change to us, although they change;
Rapt from the fickle and the frail,

With gather'd power, yet the same,
Pierces the keen seraphic flame

From orb to orb, from veil to veil.'"

passes the first Christmas; and as life resumes its usual tenour, and the shock of grief subsides, the mind awakes to those unquiet speculations which force themselves upon us from time to time, as we contemplate the mystery of Death.

Where is the spirit? What is the spirit doing?" -the old questions, which will not die, come back, again and again. Perhaps his friend has ceased to be! perhaps if he exists he will be for ever out of reach! a—

"Spectral doubt, which makes me cold

That I shall be thy mate no more.

Tho' following with an upward mind

The wonders that have come to thee,

Thro' all the secular to be,

But evermore a life behind."

So those who have gone before seem to have stolen a march upon us, and perhaps we shall never be able to overtake them! Another specu

lation then comes: perhaps the life of the soul is suspended in sleep, so that when the body lies in the grave the spirit also sleeps-until the fulness of time, when life shall come back, and love survive! Joyful anticipation! Nothing of the bitter past shall stain the long harmonious years; only, perchance, some shadows of remembrance left, some dim touch of earthly things. But this thought is in its turn clouded over by the old haunting notion of the Nirwana : perhaps we shall be merged in the ocean of Being, all individuality lost. But no; each being has been rounded to a separate mind; his isolation grows defined, and for ever! Eagerly he gropes about, but all in vain, for a proof, a hint, a suggestion, that it is so; and his weary spirit at last exhales its sorrow, its longing, and its fatigue, in prayer:

"Be near me when my light is low,

When the blood creeps, and the nerves prick

And tingle, and the heart is sick,

And all the wheels of Being slow.

Be near me when the sensuous frame

Is rack'd with pangs that conquer trust ;

And Time, a maniac scattering dust;

And Life, a Fury slinging flame.

Be near me when my faith is dry,

And men the flies of latter spring,

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