Sometimes the silver cord of life
Is loosed at one brief stroke;
As when the elements at strife,
With Nature's wild contentions rife,
Uproot the sturdy oak.
Or fell disease, in patience borne,
Attenuates the frame
Till the meek sufferer, wan and worn,
Of energy and beauty shorn,
Death's sweet release would claim.
By instant touch or long decay
Is dissolution wrought;
When, lost to earth, the grave and gay,
The young and old who pass away,
Abide in hallowed thought.
In dear regard together drawn,
Affection's debt to pay,
Fond greetings we exchange at dawn
With one who, ere the day be gone,
Is bruised and lifeless clay.
O thou in manhood's morning-time
With health and hope elate,
For whom in youth's enchanting prime
The bells of promise seemed to chime,
We mourn thy early fate!
To us how sudden - yet to thee
Perchance God kindly gave
Some warning, ere the fatal key
Unlocked the door of mystery
That lies beyond the grave.
Then let us hope that one who found
Such favor, trust, and love,
And cordial praise from all around,
For rare fidelity renowned,
Found favor, too, above.
So "all is well," though swift or slow
God's will be done; and we
Draw near to him, for close and low
Beneath his chastening hand, the blow
Will fall less heavily.