Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, WHICH WAS MOST TRULY DEAD?, by CHARLES AUGUSTIN SAINTE-BEUVE



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WHICH WAS MOST TRULY DEAD?, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: When late we followed, in her coffin laid
Last Line: Which was most truly dead?
Subject(s): Death; Dead, The


WHEN late we followed, in her coffin laid,
The youthful bride, two friends of time gone by,
Who met but at such sad solemnity,
That age attained when tears are dried and stayed;

When the rites ended, both in silent guise,
Following the hearse with scarce progressive pace,
Could in the crowded coach sit face to face,
Yet never change a word, nor raise our eyes,

Nor change a smile, nor even feel or own
A sudden uncalled flush our forehead stain:
A flash of anger, or a spark remain
Of love so great, it far and wide was known.

When, 'neath a gloomy sky funereal grey,
Bent o'er the grave, soon for us both to gape,
We could all through from clasping hands escape,
While from the spade fell the last clod of clay.

When each (all ended) to his business sped--
Say, 'twixt the coffin of the youthful bride
And the old love that in our souls had died--
Which was most truly dead?





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