The Dead Poet

Draw back the curtain, let the light
Upon the chamber's gloom,
That I may think my son asleep,
Not ready for the tomb!
Ah! what he was, he always looked, but ne'er so fair as now;
The angels' wakening kiss has left a glory on his brow!

'He will be great, God make him good,'
His father used to say;
For while we watched him at our side,
A little child at play,
There was an awed look on his face, I knew that it must be,
Sweet voices whispered to his soul, which never spoke to me!

But as we marked the first faint light
Of slowly-dawning fame,
We knew that it would only serve
To gild a dead man's name!
And we, his parents, with no gift but what in loving lies,
Stood lonely on the silent earth, and watched him win the skies!

O God! why was it thy great will
To take him home so soon,
While other livies are spared to reach
A dull inglorious noon?
But in our hearts a voice replies, 'What! would you have him miss
An hour of Joy in that blest world, for years of fame in this?'

'For our sake, Lord, not his,' we plead,
'He, drew us, nearer thee.
This dark world needs the Heav'n-sent light
That shines in such as he.'
But yet again the voice replies, 'Light reacheth from afar:
I took your gem, and purged its dross, and now it lives a star!'

And so we dropp Fame's half-wove wreath,
He does not need it there;
For he has won a brighter crown
Than poets ever wear!
And we will not cross God's good will by one unworthy sigh,
Though now our world's a wintry scene beneath a sunny sky.

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