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TO A.J.: A MONODY, by             Poem Explanation         Poet's Biography
First Line: Bright spirit! Wheresoe'er thou art
Last Line: That love and life will soon be o'er.
Subject(s): Jellicoe, Anne (d. 1880)

BRIGHT spirit! wheresoe'er thou art,
Take this sad tribute of my heart;
Or if within the realms of space
Thou ownest now no dwelling-place,
Yet let me hum my descant o'er,
Though ear of thine it reach no more.

Not often mov'd thy thoughts away
From active duties of the day,
Yet was thy faith, I doubt not, sure
That after death our lives endure,
And, safe on some far distant shore,
They dwell whom here we meet no more.

Such golden dream I do not share;
My promis'd land is here, not there;
Here, where the brethren of my race
Love, work, and weep their little space,
And, with green hillocks cover'd o'er,
Lie those who bless our homes no more.

That earlier vision fades away,
As twilight kindles into day.
Another prospect greets our view --
Of Earth array'd in vesture new.
Nor need we grieve that now no more
We shape the future as of yore.

For truth is truth, and love is love,
Though never register'd above;
And Duty looks her mute appeal,
As we its mastering force can feel,
Though it may be we live no more
When this our earthly life is o'er.

We need no verdict from the skies
To tell us thou wert good and wise.
Though angel trump ne'er break thy rest,
Thy heart was pure, thy work was blest;
Nor is thy sacred service o'er,
Though here thy face is seen no more.

Thy quickening power is with us still,
Thy memory spurs the laggard will;
Thy call to labour while we may,
And reap the harvest of the day,
Inspires our souls not less, but more,
Because thy well-wrought task is o'er.

And oft the wish will haunt my breast
To earn like thee my final rest.
Might I, at parting, leave behind
Some worthy gift to human kind, --
Perchance a not unvalued store,
When I on earth am seen no more!

O well for those who chant a song
That through the ages echoes long,
Or rear some pile of thought sublime,
Strong to withstand the shocks of time;
And so, when this first life is o'er,
Still live in others evermore.

Not such my lot -- I have but power
To breathe the feeling of the hour --
Half said, half sung -- in simple strain,
Like this, whose sorrowful refrain
Some kindly souls may murmur o'er,
When my poor voice is heard no more.

Yet do I fret not, nor repine,
Because no loftier gifts are mine;
Lamenting rather that my past
With stains of sin is overcast,
Which, if anew I traced it o'er,
I trust, should soil the page no more.

Be still, sad heart, nor thus complain,
Nor spend thy waning strength in vain.
Thou canst not by repentant tears
Efface the record of the years.
Be true, be loving now, the more
That love and life will soon be o'er.

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