Home  »  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895  »  Lilian Adelaide Neilson

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

Clement William Scott b. 1841

Lilian Adelaide Neilson

WHAT shall my gift be to the dead one lying

Wrapp’d in the mantle of her mother earth?

No tear, no voice, no prayer, or any sighing,

Gives back her face made beautiful by birth.

Honor was due to one whose soul was tender,

Whose nature quicken’d at the touch of art;

Now that the struggle’s over, God will send her

Mercy and peace to soothe her troubled heart.

Tears will be shed; for who dare raise the finger

Of scorn when all is buried in the grave?

Some pity near her memory will linger:

Upon life’s stormy sea she toss’d—a wave!

Life’s weary hill she bravely fell in breasting,

Her work was done; “Oh, take me home,” she sighs;

Whisper it low, she sleeps not, “she is resting,”—

So fell the curtain, and she clos’d her eyes.

The flowers she lov’d will deck the cross that shows us

Where all remains of what was once so fair.

Yes! she is dead, but still, perhaps, she knows us

Who say “Implora pace!” for our prayer.

They gave love’s playthings, who were wont to win her,

As Juliet coax’d to happiness her nurse;

But I, who knew the goodness that was in her,

Place humbly on her grave—this leaf of verse!