Samuel, Aged Nine Years.

A poem by Jean Ingelow

They have left you, little Henry, but they have not left you lonely -
Brothers' hearts so knit together could not, might not separate dwell.
Fain to seek you in the mansions far away - One lingered only
To bid those behind farewell!

Gentle Boy! - His childlike nature in most guileless form was moulded,
And it may be that his spirit woke in glory unaware,
Since so calmly he resigned it, with his hands still meekly folded,
Having said his evening prayer.

Or - if conscious of that summons - "Speak, O Lord, Thy servant heareth" -
As one said, whose name they gave him, might his willing answer be,
"Here am I" - like him replying - "At Thy gates my soul appeareth,
For behold Thou calledst me!"

A deep silence - utter silence, on his earthly home descendeth: -
Reading, playing, sleeping, waking - he is gone, and few remain!
"O the loss!" - they utter, weeping - every voice its echo lendeth -
"O the loss!" - But, O the gain!

On that tranquil shore his spirit was vouchsafed an early landing,
Lest the toils of crime should stain it, or the thrall of guilt control -
Lest that "wickedness should alter the yet simple understanding,
Or deceit beguile his soul!"

"Lay not up on earth thy treasure" - they have read that sentence duly,
Moth and rust shall fret thy riches - earthly good hath swift decay -
"Even so," each heart replieth - "As for me, my riches truly
Make them wings and flee away!"

"O my riches! - O my children! - dearest part of life and being,
Treasures looked to for the solace of this life's declining years, -
Were our voices cold to hearing - or our faces cold to seeing,
That ye left us to our tears?"

"We inherit conscious silence, ceasing of some merry laughter,
And the hush of two sweet voices - (healing sounds for spirits bruised!)
Of the tread of joyous footsteps in the pathway following after,
Of two names no longer used!"

Question for them, little Sister, in your sweet and childish fashion -
Search and seek them, Baby Brother, with your calm and asking eyes -
Dimpled lips that fail to utter fond appeal or sad compassion,
Mild regret or dim surprise!

There are two tall trees above you, by the high east window growing,
Underneath them, slumber sweetly, lapt in silence deep, serene;
Save, when pealing in the distance, organ notes towards you flowing
Echo - with a pause between!

And that pause? - a voice shall fill it - tones that blessed you daily, nightly,
Well beloved, but not sufficing, Sleepers, to awake you now,
Though so near he stand, that shadows from your trees may tremble lightly
On his book and on his brow!

Sleep then ever! Neither singing of sweet birds shall break your slumber,
Neither fall of dew, nor sunshine, dance of leaves, nor drift of snow,
Charm those dropt lids more to open, nor the tranquil bosoms cumber
With one care for things below!

It is something, the assurance, that you ne'er shall feel like sorrow,
Weep no past and dread no future - know not sighing, feel not pain -
Nor a day that looketh forward to a mournfuller to-morrow -
"Clouds returning after rain!"

No, far off, the daylight breaketh, in its beams each soul awaketh:
"What though clouds," they sigh, "be gathered dark and stormy to the view,
Though the light our eyes forsaketh, fresh and sweet behold it breaketh
Into endless day for you!"

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