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

February 4

Thomas Carlyle

By London Punch

(Died Feb. 4, 1881)

SHUT fast the door! Let not one vulgar din

Vex the long rest of patriarchal age.

But one step more eternal peace to win,

England’s Philosopher! Old Chelsea’s sage!

How they will greet him! When he nears the home,

Where dwell the deathless spirits of the dead,

Goethe and Schiller, “sovereign souls” will come

To crown with immortelles his honored head.

Out from the unknown shore the heroes past,

Cromwell of England, Frederick the Great,

Will lead the grand procession and recast

The roll of genius that he joined so late.

What will his message be from life to death,

Grand hero—worshipper of years ago?

“Is England true?” they’ll ask him in a breath,

“Faithful to history?” He’ll answer, “No.”

Perchance the revolution and the shame

That like black shadows crossed the Commons floor,

Were spared him dying. Whisper not his name,

Shut fast the door! He’s sleeping! Close the door.