Lines On The Death Of Captain Hiram A. Coats, My Old Schoolmate And Friend.

A poem by Hanford Lennox Gordon

Dead? or is it a dream
Only the voice of a dream?
Dead in the prime of his years,
And laid in the lap of the dust;
Only a handful of ashes
Moldering down into dust.

Strong and manly was he,
Strong and tender and true;
Proud in the prime of his years;
Strong in the strength of the just:
A heart that was half a lion's,
And half the heart of a girl;
Tender to all that was tender,
And true to all that was true;
Bold in the battle of life,
And bold on the bloody field;
First at the call of his country,
First in the front of the foe.
Hope of the years was his
The golden and garnered sheaves;
Fair on the hills of autumn
Reddened the apples of peace.

Dead? or is it a dream?
Dead in the prime of his years,
And laid in the lap of the dust.

Aye, it is but a dream;
For the life of man is a dream:
Dead in the prime of his years
And laid in the lap of the dust;
Only a handful of ashes
Moldering down into dust.

Only a handful of ashes
Moldering down into dust?
Aye, but what of the breath
Blown out of the bosom of God?
What of the spirit that breathed
And burned in the temple of clay?
Dust unto dust returns;
The dew-drop returns to the sea;
The flash from the flint and the steel
Returns to its source in the sun.
Change cometh forever-and-aye,
But forever nothing is lost
The dew-drop that sinks in the sand,
Nor the sunbeam that falls in the sea.
Ah, life is only a link
In the endless chain of change.
Death giveth the dust to the dust
And the soul to the infinite soul:
For aye since the morning of man

Since the human rose up from the brute
Hath Hope, like a beacon of light,
Like a star in the rift of the storm,
Been writ by the finger of God
On the longing hearts of men.
O follow no goblin fear;
O cringe to no cruel creed;
Nor chase the shadow of doubt
Till the brain runs mad with despair.
Stretch forth thy hand, O man,
To the winds and the quaking earth
To the heaving and falling sea
To the ultimate stars and feel
The throb of the spirit of God
The pulse of the Universe.

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