Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE PAUPER'S DEATH-BED, by CAROLINE ANNE BOWLES SOUTHEY

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THE PAUPER'S DEATH-BED, by                     Poet's Biography
First Line: Tread softly - bow the head
Last Line: Wakes with his god.
Alternate Author Name(s): Bowles, Caroline Anne
Subject(s): Poverty

Tread softly! -- bow the head --
In reverent silence bow! --
No passing bell doth toll,
Yet an immortal soul
Is passing now.

Stranger! however great,
With lowly reverence bow:
There's one in that poor shed --
One by that paltry bed,
Greater than thou.

Beneath that beggar's roof,
Lo! Death doth keep his state;
Enter! -- no crowds attend --
Enter! -- no guards defend
This palace-gate!

That pavement damp and cold,
No smiling courtiers tread;
One silent woman stands
Lifting with meagre hands
A dying head.

No mingling voices sound --
An infant wail alone;
A sob suppress'd -- again
That short deep gasp, and then
The parting groan.

Oh, change! oh, wondrous change --
Burst are the prison bars --
This moment there, so low,
So agonized, and now
Beyond the stars!

Oh, change -- stupendous change!
There lies the soulless clod:
The sun eternal breaks --
The new immortal wakes --
Wakes with his God.

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