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

Cosmo Monkhouse b. 1840

When We Are All Asleep

WHEN He returns, and finds the world so drear,

All sleeping, young and old, unfair and fair,

Will he stoop down and whisper in each ear,

“Awaken!” or for pity’s sake forbear,

Saying, “How shall I meet their frozen stare

Of wonder, and their eyes so full of fear?

How shall I comfort them in their despair,

If they cry out, ‘Too late! let us sleep here’?”

Perchance He will not wake us up, but when

He sees us look so happy in our rest,

Will murmur, “Poor dead women and dead men!

Dire was their doom, and weary was their quest.

Wherefore awake them into life again?

Let them sleep on untroubled—it is best.”