Home  »  library  »  poem  »  At a Funeral

C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

At a Funeral

By Reginald Heber (1783–1826)

BENEATH our feet and o’er our head

Is equal warning given;

Beneath us lie the countless dead,

Above us is the heaven.

Their names are graven on the stone,

Their bones are in the clay;

And ere another day is done,

Ourselves may be as they.

Death rides on every passing breeze,

He lurks in every flower;

Each season has its own disease,

Its peril every hour.

Our eyes have seen the rosy light

Of youth’s soft cheek decay,

And Fate descend in sudden night

On manhood’s middle day.

Our eyes have seen the steps of age

Halt feebly towards the tomb,

And yet shall earth our hearts engage,

And dreams of days to come?

Turn, mortal, turn! thy danger know;

Where’er thy foot can tread

The earth rings hollow from below,

And warns thee of her dead.

Turn, Christian, turn! thy soul apply

To truths Divinely given;

The bones that underneath thee lie

Shall live for hell or heaven.