How doth Death speak of our beloved,    
     When it hath laid them low;

How doth Death speak of our beloved,    
     When it hath laid them low;
When it has set its hallowing touch
     On speechless lip and brow?

It clothes their every gift and grace
With radiance from the holiest place,
With light as from an angel’s face;

Recalling with resistless force
And tracing to their hidden source,
Deeds scarcely noticed in their course.

This little loving fond device,
That daily act of sacrifice,
Of such too late we learn the price!

Opening our weeping eyes to trace
Simple, unnoticed kindnesses,
Forgotten notes of tenderness,

Which evermore to us must be
Sacred as hymns in infancy,
Learned listening at a mother’s knee.

Thus doth Death speak of our beloved
     When it has laid them low:
Then let Love antedate the work of Death,
     And do this now!

 _____________________

How doth Death speak of our beloved,
     When it has laid them low;
When it has set its hallowing touch
     On speechless lip and brow?

It sweeps their faults with heavy hand,
As sweeps the sea the trampled sand,
Till scarce the faintest print is scanned.

It shows how such a vexing deed
Was but generous nature’s weed,
Or some choice virtue run to seed;

How that small fretting fretfulness
Was but love’s over-anxiousness,
Which had not been, had love been less.

This failing, at which we repined,
But the dim shade of day declined,
Which should have made us doubly kind.

Thus doth Death speak of our beloved,
     When it has laid them low;
Then let Love antedate the work of Death,
     And do this now!

 _______________________

How doth Death speak of our beloved,
     When it has laid them low;
When it has set its hallowing touch
     On speechless lip and brow?

It takes each failing on our part,
And brands it in upon the heart,
With caustic power and cruel art.

The small neglect that may have pained,
A giant stature will have gained
When it can never be explained:

The little service which had proved
How tenderly we watched and loved,
And those mute lips to glad smiles moved

The little gift from out our store,
Which might have cheered some cheerless hour,
When they with earth’s poor needs were poor
But never will be needed more!

It shows our faults like fires at night;
It sweeps their failing out of sight,
It clothes their good in heavenly light.

O Christ our life! Fore-date the work of Death,
     And do this now!
Thou who art love, thus hallow our beloved;
     Not Death, but Thou!

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