Waiting at the Gate.

A poem by John Hartley

Draw closer to my side to-night,
Dear wife, give me thy hand,
My heart is sad with memories
Which thou canst understand,
Its twenty years this very day,
I know thou minds it well,
Since o'er our happy wedded life
The heaviest trouble fell.

We stood beside the little cot,
But not a word we said;
With breaking hearts we learned, alas,
Our little Claude was dead,
He was the last child born to us,
The loveliest, - the best,
I sometimes fear we loved him more
Than any of the rest.

We tried to say "Thy will be done,"
We strove to be resigned;
But all in vain, our loss had left
Too deep a wound behind.
I saw the tears roll down thy cheek,
And shared thy misery,
But could not speak a soothing word,
I could but grieve with thee.

He looked so calm, so sweet, so fair
Why should we stand and weep?
Death had but paused a moment there,
And put our pet to sleep.
The weary hours crept sadly on,
Until the burial day;
Then in the deep, cold, gravel grave,
We saw him laid away.

His little bed was taen apart,
His toys put out of sight;
His brother and his sister soon
Grew gay again and bright.
But we, dear wife, we ne'er threw off,
The sorrow o'er us cast;
And even yet, at times, we grieve,
Though twenty years have passed.

We know he's in a better land,
A heaven where all is bliss;
Nor would we try if we'd the power
To bring him back to this.
Draw closer to my side, dear wife,
And wipe away that tear,
Heaven does not seem so far away,
I seem to feel him near.

He'll come no more with us to dwell,
For our life's lamp burns dim;
But He who doeth all things well,
Will draw us up to Him.
Come closer, wife, let us not part,
We have not long to wait;
A something whispers to my heart,
"Claude's waiting at the Gate."

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