A Monody

A poem by Kate Seymour Maclean

On the early and lamented death of George and Maggie Rosseaux, brother and sister, who died within one week of each other in the autumn of 1875. Young, beautiful and beloved, they were indeed lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided.

Pace slowly, black horses, step stately and solemn--
One by one--two by two--stretches out the long column;
Pass on with your burden, the sound of our tears
Will not reach the deaf ears.

Beneath the black shadow of funeral arches,
Stepping slow to the rhythm of funeral marches;
Pass on down the street where their steps were so gay,
And so light, yesterday.

Where it seems if we turn we shall clasp them and hold them,
Our hands shall embrace--and our eyes shall behold them,--
So near are the confines of hither, and yonder,--
So world-wide asunder!

Oh, lovers and friends! ye were youth and glad weather,
And beauty and strength, and all bright things together,
With the smile on your lips, and the flower at your breast
Have ye gone to your rest.

The dull lives of others move on, while the splendid
Beginnings of yours are all broken and ended,
The high hopes, the bright dreams, and youth's confident trust,
Gone down to the dust.

Step slowly, black steeds, at the head of the column,
Breathe softly, dead marches, so mournfully solemn;
Ye bear from our sight what no morn shall restore
Nevermore, nevermore.

Oh, beloved--oh, wept for!--beyond the dark river
Are the lives incomplete, there made perfect forever?
Oh, wave but a hand through the darkness, to tell
It is well with ye--well.

Profound is the darkness--the silence unbroken--
No glimmer of pale hatreds comes back as a token:
Yet still in our hearts we have heard the words spoken:--
"He hath overcome death--He hath passed through the grave--
He is able to save."

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