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

Constance C. W. Naden 1858–89

The Pantheist’s Song of Immortality

BRING snow-white lilies, pallid heart-flushed roses,

Enwreathe her brow with heavy scented flowers;

In soft undreaming sleep her head reposes,

While, unregretted, pass the sunlit hours.

Few sorrows did she know—and all are over;

A thousand joys—but they are all forgot;

Her life was one fair dream of friend and lover,

And were they false—ah, well, she knows it not.

Look in her face and lose thy dread of dying;

Weep not that rest will come, that toil will cease;

Is it not well to lie as she is lying,

In utter silence, and in perfect peace?

Canst thou repine that sentient days are numbered?

Death is unconscious Life, that waits for birth;

So didst thou live, while yet thine embryo slumbered,

Senseless, unbreathing, even as heaven and earth.

Then shrink no more from Death, though Life be gladness,

Nor seek him, restless in thy lonely pain;

The law of joy ordains each hour of sadness,

And firm or frail, thou canst not live in vain.

What though thy name by no sad lips be spoken,

And no fond heart shall keep thy memory green?

Thou yet shalt leave thine own enduring token,

For earth is not as though thou ne’er hadst been.

See you broad current, hasting to the ocean,

Its ripples glorious in the western red:

Each wavelet passes, trackless; yet its motion

Has changed for evermore the river bed.

Ah, wherefore weep, although the form and fashion

Of what thou seemest fades like sunset flame?

The uncreated Source of toil and passion

Through everlasting change abides the same.

Yes, thou shalt die: but these almighty forces,

That meet to form thee, live for evermore;

They hold the suns in their eternal courses,

And shape the tiny sand-grains on the shore.

Be calmly glad, thine own true kindred seeing

In fire and storm, in flowers with dew impearled;

Rejoice in thine imperishable being,

One with the essence of the boundless world.