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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

David Macbeth Moir 1798–1851

Casa’s Dirge

VAINLY for us the sunbeams shine,

Dimm’d is our joyous hearth;

O Casa, dearer dust than thine

Ne’er mix’d with mother earth!

Thou wert the corner-stone of love,

The keystone of our fate;

Thou art not! Heaven scowls dark above,

And earth is desolate.

Ocean may rave with billows curl’d,

And moons may wax and wane,

And fresh flowers blossom; but this world

Shall claim not thee again.

Clos’d are the eyes which bade rejoice

Our hearts till love ran o’er;

Thy smile is vanish’d, and thy voice

Silent for evermore.

Yes; thou art gone—our hearth’s delight,

Our boy so fond and dear;

No more thy smiles to glad our sight,

No more thy songs to cheer;

No more thy presence, like the sun,

To fill our home with joy:

Like lightning hath thy race been run,

As bright as swift, fair boy.

Now winter with its snow departs,

The green leaves clothe the tree;

But summer smiles not on the hearts

That bleed and break for thee:

The young May weaves her flowery crown,

Her boughs in beauty wave;

They only shake their blossoms down

Upon thy silent grave.

Dear to our souls is every spot

Where thy small feet have trod;

There odors, breath’d from Eden, float,

And sainted is the sod;

The wild bee with its buglet fine,

The blackbird singing free,

Melt both thy mother’s heart and mine:

They speak to us of thee!

Only in dreams thou comest now

From Heaven’s immortal shore,

A glory round that infant brow,

Which Death’s pale signet bore:

’T was thy fond looks, ’t was thy fond lips,

That lent our joys their tone;

And life is shaded with eclipse,

Since thou from earth art gone.

Thine were the fond, endearing ways,

That tenderest feeling prove;

A thousand wiles to win our praise,

To claim and keep our love;

Fondness for us thrill’d all thy veins;

And, Casa, can it be

That nought of all the past remains

Except vain tears for thee?

Idly we watch thy form to trace

In children on the street;

Vainly, in each familiar place,

We list thy pattering feet;

Then, sudden, o’er these fancies crush’d,

Despair’s black pinions wave;

We know that sound for ever hush’d:

We look upon thy grave.

O heavenly child of mortal birth!

Our thoughts of thee arise,

Not as a denizen of earth,

But inmate of the skies:

To feel that life renew’d is thine

A soothing balm imparts;

We quaff from out Faith’s cup divine,

And Sabbath fills our hearts.

Thou leanest where the fadeless wands

Of amaranth bend o’er;

Thy white wings brush the golden sands

Of Heaven’s refulgent shore.

Thy home is where the psalm and song

Of angels choir abroad,

And blessed spirits, all day long,

Bask round the throne of God.

There chance and change are not; the soul

Quaffs bliss as from a sea,

And years, through endless ages, roll,

From sin and sorrow free:

There gush for aye fresh founts of joy,

New raptures to impart;

Oh! dare we call thee still our boy,

Who now a seraph art?

A little while—a little while—

Ah! long it cannot be!

And thou again on us wilt smile,

Where angels smile on thee.

How selfish is the worldly heart:

How sinful to deplore!

Oh! that we were where now thou art,

Not lost, but gone before.