James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

November 1

All-Saints’ Day

By James Russell Lowell (1819–1891)

ONE feast, of holy days the crest,

I, though no Churchman, love to keep,

All-Saints,—the unknown good that rest

In God’s still memory folded deep;

The bravely dumb that did their deed,

And scorned to blot it with a name,

Men of the plain heroic breed,

That loved Heaven’s silence more than fame.

Such lived, not in the past alone,

But thread to-day the unheeding street,

And stairs to Sin and Famine known

Sing with the welcome of their feet;

The den they enter grows a shrine,

The grimy sash an oriel burns,

Their cup of water warms like wine,

Their speech is filled from heavenly urns.

About their brows to me appears

An aureole traced in tenderest light,

The rainbow-gleam of smiles through tears

In dying eyes, by them made bright,

Of souls that shivered on the edge

Of that chill ford repassed no more,

And in their mercy felt the pledge

And sweetness of the farther shore.