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

Arthur Reed Ropes b. 1859

In Pace

WHEN you are dead some day, my dear,

Quite dead and under ground,

Where you will never see or hear

A summer sight or sound,

What shall remain of you in death,

When all our songs to you

Are silent as the bird whose breath

Has sung the summer through?

I wonder, will you ever wake,

And with tired eyes again

Live for your old life’s little sake

An age of joy or pain?

Shall some stern destiny control

That perfect form, wherein

I hardly see enough of soul

To make your life a sin?

For, we have heard, for all men born

One harvest-day prepares

Its golden garners for the corn,

And fire to burn the tares;

But who shall gather into sheaves,

Or turn aside to blame

The poppies’ puckered helpless leaves,

Blown bells of scarlet flame?

No hate so hard, no love so bold

To seek your bliss or woe;

You are too sweet for hell to hold,

And heaven would tire you so.

A little while your joy shall be,

And when you crave for rest

The earth shall take you utterly

Again into her breast.

And we will find a quiet place

For your still sepulchre,

And lay the flowers upon your face

Sweet as your kisses were,

And with hushed voices void of mirth

Spread the light turf above,

Soft as the silk you loved on earth

As much as you could love.

Few tears, but once, our eyes shall shed,

Nor will we sigh at all,

But come and look upon your bed

When the warm sunlights fall.

Upon that grave no tree of fruit

Shall grow, nor any grain,

Only one flower of shallow root

That will not spring again.