Classic and Contemporary Poetry
REQUIESCAT, by JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY Poet's Biography
First Line: Be it life, be it death, there is nearing
Last Line: Of death to the light.
Alternate Author Name(s): Johnson Of Boone, Benj. F.
Subject(s): Dawn; Death; Life; Sunrise; Dead, The
BE it life, be it death, there is nearing the dawn of a glorious day,
When the murmurs of doubt we are hearing
In silence shall dwindle away;
And the hush and content that we covet --
The rest that we need, and the sleep
That abides with the eyelids that love it,
Shall come as we weep.
We shall listen no more to the sobbing
Of sorrowing lips, and the sound
In our pillows at night of the throbbing
Of feverish hearts will have found
The quiet beyond understanding,
The rush and the moan of the rain,
That shall beat on the shingles, demanding
Admittance in vain.
The hand on the dial shall number
The hours unmarked; and the bell
Shall waken us not from the slumber
That knows neither tolling of knell
Nor the peals of glad melody showered
Like roses of song o'er the pave
Where the bride and the groom walk their flowered
Green way to the grave.
In that dawn, when it breaks, we shall wonder
No more why the heavens send back
To our prayers but the answer of thunder,
And the lightning-scrawl, writ on the black
Of the storm in a language no mortal
May read till his questioning sight
Shall have pierced through the innermost portal
Of death to the light.
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