Passing Away

A poem by Abram Joseph Ryan

Life's Vesper-bells are ringing
In the temple of my heart,
And yon sunset, sure, is singing
"Nunc dimittis -- Now depart!"
Ah! the eve is golden-clouded,
But to-morrow's sun shall shine
On this weary body shrouded;
But my soul doth not repine.

"Let me see the sun descending,
I will see his light no more,
For my life, this eve, is ending;
And to-morrow on the shore
That is fair, and white, and golden,
I will meet my God; and ye
Will forget not all the olden,
Happy hours ye spent with me.

"I am glad that I am going;
What a strange and sweet delight
Is thro' all my being flowing
When I know that, sure, to-night
I will pass from earth and meet Him
Whom I loved thro' all the years,
Who will crown me when I greet Him,
And will kiss away my tears.

"My last sun! haste! hurry westward!
In the dark of this to-night
My poor soul that hastens rest-ward
`With the Lamb' will find the light;
Death is coming -- and I hear him,
Soft and stealthy cometh he;
But I do not believe I fear him,
God is now so close to me."

* * * * *

Fell the daylight's fading glimmer
On a face so wan and white;
Brighter was his soul, while dimmer
Grew the shadows of the night;
And he died -- and God was near him;
I knelt by him to forgive;
And I sometimes seem to hear him
Whisper -- "Live as I did live."

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