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Look On This Picture
by [?]

O, IT is life! departed days
Fling back their brightness while I gaze–
‘Tis Emma’s self–this brow so fair,
Half-curtained in this glossy hair,
These eyes, the very home of love,
The dark thin arches traced above,
These red-ripe lips that almost speak,
The fainter blush of this pure cheek,
The rose and lily’s beauteous strife–
It is–ah, no! ’tis all but life.

‘Tis all but life–art could not save
Thy graces, Emma, from the grave;
Thy cheek is pale, thy smile is past,
Thy love-lit eyes have looked their last,
Mouldering beneath the coffin’s lid,
All we adored of thee is hid;
Thy heart, where goodness loved to dwell,
Is throbless in the narrow cell:
Thy gentle voice shall charm no more,
Its last, last joyful note is o’er.

Oft, oft, indeed, it hath been sung,
The requiem of the fair and young;
The theme is old, alas! how old,
Of grief that will not be controlled,
Of sighs that speak a father’s woe,
Of pangs that none but mothers know,
Of friendship with its bursting heart,
Doomed from the idol-one to part–
Still its sad debt must feeling pay,
Till feeling, too, shall pass away.

O say, why age, and grief, and pain,
Shall long to go, but long in vain?
Why vice is left to mock at time,
And gray in years, grow gray in crime;
While youth, that every eye makes glad,
And beauty, all in radiance clad,
And goodness, cheering every heart,
Come, but come only to depart;
Sunbeams, to cheer life’s wintry day,
Sunbeams, to flash, then fade away?

‘Tis darkness all! black banners wave
Round the cold borders of the grave;
Then when in agony we bend
O’er the fresh sod that hides a friend,
One only comfort then we know–
We, too, shall quit this world of woe;
We, too, shall find a quiet place
With the dear lost ones of our race;
Our crumbling bones with theirs shall blend,
And life’s sad story find an end.

And is this all–this mournful doom?
Beams no glad light beyond the tomb?
Mark how yon clouds in darkness ride;
They do not quench the orb they hide;
Still there it wheels–the tempest o’er,
In a bright sky to burn once more;
So, far above the clouds of time,
Faith can behold a world sublime–
There, when the storms of life are past,
The light beyond shall break at last.