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Threnody [Life, sublime and serene when time had power upon it…]
by [?]


OCTOBER 6, 1892

I

Life, sublime and serene when time had power upon it and ruled its breath,
Changed it, bade it be glad or sad, and hear what change in the world’s ear saith,
Shines more fair in the starrier air whose glory lightens the dusk of death.

Suns that sink on the wan sea’s brink, and moons that kindle and flame and fade,
Leave more clear for the darkness here the stars that set not and see not shade
Rise and rise on the lowlier skies by rule of sunlight and moonlight swayed.

So, when night for his eyes grew bright, his proud head pillowed on Shakespeare’s breast,
Hand in hand with him, soon to stand where shine the glories that death loves best,
Passed the light of his face from sight, and sank sublimely to radiant rest.

II

Far above us and all our love, beyond all reach of its voiceless praise,
Shines for ever the name that never shall feel the shade of the changeful days
Fall and chill the delight that still sees winter’s light on it shine like May’s.

Strong as death is the dark day’s breath whose blast has withered the life we see
Here where light is the child of night, and less than visions or dreams are we:
Strong as death; but a word, a breath, a dream is stronger than death can be.

Strong as truth and superb in youth eternal, fair as the sundawn’s flame
Seen when May on her first-born day bids earth exult in her radiant name,
Lives, clothed round with its praise and crowned with love that dies not, his love-lit fame.

III

Fairer far than the morning star, and sweet for us as the songs that rang
Loud through heaven from the choral Seven when all the stars of the morning sang,
Shines the song that we loved so long–since first such love in us flamed and sprang.

England glows as a sunlit rose from mead to mountain, from sea to sea,
Bright with love and with pride above all taint of sorrow that needs must be,
Needs must live for an hour, and give its rainbow’s glory to lawn and lea.

Not through tears shall the new-born years behold him, crowned with applause of men,
Pass at last from a lustrous past to life that lightens beyond their ken,
Glad and dead, and from earthward led to sunward, guided of Imogen.