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The Lady of La Garaye. Norton, Caroline Sheridan, 1808–1877.
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page: 143

THE LADY OF LA GARAYE.

CONCLUSION.

  • PEACE to their ashes! Far away they lie,
  • Among their poor, beneath the equal sky.
  • Among their poor, who blessed them ere they went
  • For all the loving help and calm content.
  • Oh! happy beings, who have gone to hear
  • “Well done, ye faithful servants,” sounding clear;
  • page: 144
  • How easy all your virtues to admire;
  • How hard, alas! to copy and aspire.
  • Servant of God, well done! They serve God well
  • Who serve His creatures: when the funeral bell
  • Tolls for the dead, there’s nothing left of all
  • That decks the scutcheon and the velvet pall
  • Save this. The coronet is empty show:
  • The strength and loveliness are hid below:
  • The shifting wealth to others hath accrued:
  • And learning cheers not the grave’ solitude:
  • What’s DONE, is what remains! Ah, blessed they
  • Who leave completed tasks of love to stay
  • And answer mutely for them, being dead,
  • Life was not purposeless, though Life be fled.
  • page: 145
  • Even as I write, before me seem to rise,
  • Like stars in darkness, well remembered eyes
  • Whose light but lately shone on earth’s endeavour,
  • Now vanished from this troubled world for ever.
  • Oh! missed and mourned by many,—I being one,—
  • HERBERT, not vainly thy career was run;
  • Nor shall Death’s shadow, and the folding shroud,
  • Veil from the future years thy worth allowed.
  • Since all thy life thy single hope and aim
  • Was to do good,—not make thyself a name,—
  • ’Tis fit that by the good remaining yet,
  • Thy name be one men never can forget.
  • Oh! eyes I first knew in our mutual youth.
  • So full of limpid earnestness and truth;
  • Eyes I saw fading still, as day by day
  • page: 146
  • The body, not the spirit’s strength, gave way;
  • Eyes that I last saw lifting their farewell
  • To the now darkened windows where I dwell,—
  • And wondered, as I stood there sadly gazing,
  • If Death were brooding in their faint upraising;
  • If never more thy footstep light should cross
  • My threshold stone—but friends bewail thy loss,
  • And She bewidowed young, who lonely trains
  • Children that boast thy good blood in their veins;
  • Fair eyes,—your light was quenched while men still thought
  • To see those tasks to full perfection brought!
  • But GOOD is not a shapeless mass of stone,
  • Hewn by man’s hands and worked by him alone;
  • It is a seed God suffers One to sow,—
  • Many to reap; and when the harvests grow,
  • GOD giveth increase through all coming years,—
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  • And lets us reap in joy, seed that was sown in tears.
  • Brave heart! true soldier’s son; set at thy post,
  • Deserting not till life itself was lost;
  • Thou faithful sentinel for others’ weal,
  • Clad in a surer panoply than steel,
  • A resolute purpose,—sleep, as heroes sleep,—
  • Slain, but not conquered! We thy loss must weep,
  • And while our sight the mist of sorrow dims,
  • Feel all these comforting words die down like hymns
  • Hushed after service in cathedral walls;
  • But proudly on thy name thy country calls,
  • By thee raised higher than the highest place
  • Yet won by any of thy ancient race.
  • Be thy sons like thee! Sadly as I bend
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  • Above the page, I write thy name, lost friend!
  • With a friend’s name this brief book did begin,
  • And a friend’s name shall end it: names that win
  • Happy remembrance from the great and good;
  • Names that shall sink not in oblivion’s flood,
  • But with clear music, like a church‐bell’s chime,
  • Sound through the river’s sweep of onward rushing Time!
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