John Keble

Here you will find the Long Poem Burial of poet John Keble


And when the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her, and said unto
her, Weep not. And He came and touched the bier; and they that
bare him stood still. And He said, Young man, I say unto thee,
Arise.--St. Luke vii. 13, 14.

Who says, the wan autumnal soon
 Beams with too faint a smile
To light up nature's face again,
And, though the year be on this wane,
 With thoughts of spring the heart beguile?

Waft him, thou soft September breeze,
 And gently lay him down
Within some circling woodland wall,
Where bright leaves, reddening ere they fall,
 Wave gaily o'er the waters brown.

And let some graceful arch be there
 With wreathed mullions proud,
With burnished ivy for its screen,
And moss, that glows as fresh and green
 As thought beneath an April cloud. -

Who says the widow's heart must break,
 The childless mother sink? -
A kinder truer voice I hear,
Which e'en beside that mournful bier
 Whence parents' eyes would hopeless shrink,

Bids weep no more--O heart bereft,
 How strange, to thee, that sound!
A widow o'er her only son,
Feeling more bitterly alone
 For friends that press officious round.

Yet is the voice of comfort heard,
 For Christ hath touched the bier -
The bearers wait with wondering eye,
The swelling bosom dares not sigh,
 But all is still, 'twixt hope and fear.

E'en such an awful soothing calm
 We sometimes see alight
On Christian mourners, while they wait
In silence, by some churchyard gate,
 Their summons to this holy rite.

And such the tones of love, which break
 The stillness of that hour,
Quelling th' embittered spirit's strife -
"The Resurrection and the Life
 Am I: believe, and die no more."

Unchanged that voice--and though not yet
 The dead sit up and speak,
Answering its call; we gladlier rest
Our darlings on earth's quiet breast,
 And our hearts feel they must not break.

Far better they should sleep awhile
 Within the Church's shade,
Nor wake, until new heaven, new earth,
Meet for their new immortal birth
 For their abiding-place be made,

Than wander back to life, and lean
 On our frail love once more.
'Tis sweet, as year by year we lose
Friends out of sight, in faith to muse
 How grows in Paradise our store.

Then pass, ye mourners, cheerly on,
 Through prayer unto the tomb,
Still, as ye watch life's falling leaf,
Gathering from every loss and grief
 Hope of new spring and endless home.

Then cheerly to your work again
 With hearts new-braced and set
To run, untired, love's blessed race.
As meet for those, who face to face
 Over the grave their Lord have met.