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Ah, which can best be spared ?
Whom will the rest resign?
To say, The turn be mine,
First to engage the mighty foe?
The loveliest and the dearest,
Whose smile threw gladness round; The loss of whom, to all severest,
Shall plant the deepest wound, Their pride, their life, their solace_she, Said the dread voice, my bride shall be.
Vain boast! 'Twas not thy choice,
O Death, that laid her low.
The mandate was a Father's voice,
And wisdom ruled the blow :
The fleshly robe alone thy prey,
I heard from heaven crying,
An angel voice that said,
Yea, blessed are the dead.
Sleep thou in Christ, my sister ! Rest
I heard, from earth proceeding,
Another voice proclaim :
The frail, decaying frame,
Fit for the service of the skies.
Ah, soon the cheek is dry,
And wounds the deepest heal: Memory at length forgets to sigh,
And Grief forgets to feel. Soon spreads the turf, and flowrets bloom O'er the abysses of the tomb.
Then, while the cheek is wet,
And while the heart is wise,
And, blending with each fond regret,
Some better thoughts arise,
Nor let a sister die in vain.
66 Animula vagula, blandula,
Hospes comesque corporis,
Emperor Adrian to his Soul.
O THAT in unfetter'd union
Spirit could with spirit blend !
O that in unseen communion
Thought could hold the distant friend !
Who the secrets can unravel
Of the body's mystic guest ?
While unconsciously we rest ?
While, in pleasing thraldom lying,
Seal'd in slumber deep it seems, Far abroad it may be flying :
What is Sleep? and what are Dreams ? Earth, how narrow thy dominions,
And how slow the body's pace! O to range on eagle pinions
Through illimitable space !
What is Thought? In wild succession
Whence proceeds the motley train ? What first stamps the vague impression
On the ever active brain ?
What is Thought? and whither tending,
Does the subtle phantom flee? Does it, like a moonbeam ending,
Shine, then melt to vacancy?
Has a strange, mysterious feeling,
Something shapeless, undefined,
O'er thy lonely musings stealing,
Ne'er impress'd thy pensive mind; As if he, whose strong resemblance
Fancy at that moment drew, By coincident remembrance
Knew your thoughts, and thought of you?
When, at Mercy's footstool bending,
Thou hast felt a sacred glow,Faith and Hope to heaven ascending,
Love still lingering below; Say, has ne'er the thought impress'd thee,
That thy friend might feel thy prayer ?