[Editor: This poem by Menie Parkes was published in Poems (1867).]
Our boy is gone! —
Our tenderest one! —
He of the holy eye, and pale, pure brow!
He will not smile so fondly o’er us now.
He lieth cold,
And his worn arms fold
Calmly over his silent, pulseless breast;
“Be still,” we say, “he taketh his rest.”
Noise will not wake him,
Thunder not shake him
From that strange sleep. Ay, hold your stifled breath;
Such fearful sorrow worketh sin-born death.
Sadly we sigh —
His mother and I,
And clasp that cold form in our wild embraces,
But, chilled by its clamminess, cover our faces.
Firmly he stood
In his first manhood,
And gave to God’s service the life God had given;
Oh, glory he thought it to labor for Heaven.
Alas! he is gone!
Had to-morrow’s sun shone,
And he been on earth to smile up to its smiling,
We had seen him solemnly, softly, beguiling
Back to God’s path,
Away from his wrath,
Mortals for whom his young nature was yearning
While up to their Maker his heart’s love was burning.
To-morrow — God’s day
He will be far away;
And I must go up
And, holding the cup
Of my sorrow, to drain, when my duty is done,
Tell those who would hear the young preacher, my son,
He was called upon high
To His throne in the sky,
And, leaving us weeping, to Jesus is gone.
God, my hair is white,
And dim is my sight;
Thy servant was here with his mission near done —
Oh, why snatch the young man with life but begun?
Lord, thou hast so taught him
The dear love that bought him,
That life was a chain too feeble to bind him away
From the Master’s throne and Eternal Day.
My boy, my son!
Thy sorrow is done!
But we, who have lost thee, our angel on earth,
How sadly we’re waiting our own death-birth.
But list! from the Heaven!
Its arch must be riven
To send to still earth such a musical flow,
To throw on dark earth such a roseate glow.
“Shine, holy light,
More purely bright!
Ring, seraph’s song,
More grand and strong!
Another lamb to his Shepherd is come!
Another child reached his Father’s Home!”
Oh, dearest wife,
’Tis not death, but life
That has drawn our darling child away;
True, we for a time on this dark earth must stay
But we will not moan
That our loved one has flown
Before us on the homeward way.
Menie Parkes, Poems, F. Cunninghame, Sydney, , pages 88-90
list = (archaic) listen
Maker = in a religious context, God
riven = cleaved, split, or torn apart
Shepherd = in a religious context, and often capitalized, usually a reference to Jesus or God; the term commonly refers to Jesus, but it has also been used with regards to God, e.g. “The Lord is my shepherd”, in Psalm 23, in the Book of Psalms in the Old Testament of the Bible (Psalm 22 in the Latin Vulgate Bible); the phrase “Good Shepherd” is a reference to Jesus, based upon John 10:11-15 in the New Testament of the Bible, where Jesus refers to himself as “the good shepherd”; the pastor, priest, reverend, or spiritual leader of a church congregation may also be referred to as a “shepherd”
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