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

November 19

The Dead Player

By John James Meehan

  • W. J. Florence was an American comedian who died on Nov. 19, 1891.

  • “ONLY a player dead!”

    How light the words are said!

    Each year the olden circle narrows down;

    The shadows gather less,

    The shoulders fewer press,

    Upon the shield that guards the actor’s crown.

    If in some life there be

    A flitting memory,

    A tear for love, a prayer for home, a smile

    That these have made to come

    In hearts to music dumb,

    Is kinder deed engraved on tomb or pile?

    Good night! The curtain falls:

    When last the prompter calls,

    Upon our eyes may grow another scene,

    Where all the players gray

    Shall fill the misty day,

    With songs in woodland valleys soft and green.