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Crawford, Isabella Valancy (1850-1887)
Life
   "O death, where is thy sting?  O grave, where is thy victory?"
1 Cor. xv. 55.
   "There is another invisible, eternal existence, superior to this
visible one, which does not perish when all things perish."--
Bhagavad Gt.
   "Go, give to the waters and the plants thy body, which belongs
to them, but there is an immortal portion--transport it to the
world of the Holy."-- Rig Veda.

                       SHINING so gloriously,
                         What dost thou here?
                       Only last evensong
                         Spread we thy bier,
                       Lit the tall tapers white,
                         Ghastly and drear.

                       Two stood at side and foot,
                         Two at thy head;
                       Over thee, full and wide,
                         Black the pall spread;
                       Slow tolled the mellow bell,
                         For--thou wert dead.

                       Lilies lay on thy breast,
                         I placed them there;
                       None, priest or kin or earl,
                         Guessed my despair
                       As I wreathed bud and bloom
                         In thy dark hair.

                       Have thy white feet, O Love,
                         Spotless which trod
                       Over the mire and clay
                         Of the earth's sod,
                       No brighter paths to tread
                         Nearer to God?

                       Thus cried my soul last night,
                         Fearful and loud.
                       Glanced out the silver moon
                         From a swift cloud,
                       Laid all her light on thee
                         Dumb in thy shroud.

                       Never came smile or frown
                         Over thy face;
                       No whisper answered me
                         In that still place;
                       White shone the tapers tall
                         On thy dead grace.

                       On thy fringed pall I lay,
                         Prone by thy bier,
                       While the night-watches passed
                         Fearful and drear.
                       Oh! could mere icy dust
                         Still be so dear?

                       But when the dawn arose,
                         Golden and grey,
                       Bier, pall and tapers high
                         Vanished away;
                       Nor looked my anguished eyes
                         On thy dead clay.

                       Shining so gloriously,
                         I saw thee stand
                       With our dead children three
                         Clasped by the hand;
                       And round thy brows were set
                         Stars in a band.

                       Cried then my soul of souls:
                         "Answer, O clay!
                       Shall those fond eyes of thine
                         Slumber alway?
                       That brow in noisome dust
                         Vanished away?

                      "Those tender hands of thine,
                         Gracious and kind,
                       Turned into clay and ash,
                         Drift on the wind?
                       Sealed ever thy pure lips,
                         And thine eyes blind?

                      "Shall that sweet heart of thine,
                         Noble and true,
                       Moulder to feed the sap
                         Of the weird yew?
                       Or the small graveside bud
                         Wet with death's dew?

                      "Answer my groaning soul,
                         O thou dear clay!
                       Shall that brave soul of thine
                         Tremble away
                       Into dark nothingness?
                         Answer, and say

                      "Shall all the gracious deeds
                         Hands, heart and soul
                       Nobly have joined to work
                         Win thee no dole?
                       Hast thy fair, beauteous life
                         Won its last goal?"
Public Domain