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

Arthur Penrhyn Stanley 1815–81

Teach Us to Die


WHERE shall we learn to die?

Go, gaze with steadfast eye

On dark Gethsemane

Or darker Calvary,

Where through each lingering hour

The Lord of grace and power,

Most lowly and most high,

Has taught the Christian how to die.

When in the olive shade

His long last prayer he pray’d,

When on the cross to heaven

His parting spirit was given,

He show’d that to fulfil

The Father’s gracious will,

Not asking how or why,

Alone prepares the soul to die.

No word of anxious strife,

No anxious cry for life;

By scoff and torture torn,

He speaks not scorn for scorn;

Calmly forgiving those

Who deem themselves his foes,

In silent majesty

He points the way at peace to die.

Delighting to the last

In memories of the past;

Glad at the parting meal

In lowly tasks to kneel;

Still yearning to the end

For mother and for friend;

His great humility

Loves in such acts of love to die.

Beyond his depth of woes

A wider thought arose,

Along his path of gloom,

Thought for his country’s doom;

Athwart all pain and grief,

Thought for the contrite thief:

The far-stretch’d sympathy

Lives on when all beside shall die.

Bereft, but not alone,

The world is still his own;

The realm of deathless truth

Still breathes immortal youth;

Sure, though in shuddering dread,

That all is finished,

With purpose fix’d and high

The friend of all mankind must die.

Oh, by those weary hours

Of slowly-ebbing powers;

By those deep lessons heard

In each expiring word;

By that unfailing love

Lifting the soul above,

When our last end is nigh,

So teach us, Lord, with thee to die.