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Short poem

Henrietta Anne Huxley (1825-1914)

Browning's Funeral

December 31, 1889

              1This day within the Abbey, where of old
              2Our kings are sepulchred, a king of song,
              3Browning, among his peers is laid to rest,
              4Borne to the tomb by loving hearts, and stoled
              5In shining raiment that his genius wove.
              6No lingering illness his, with swift surprise
              7Death flashed the Light Eternal in his eyes
              8And blinded Life. In this way he was blest.
              9Perhaps in some far star he now has met
            10His rose of love, his ne'er forgotten wife,
            11In life past death the passion of his life,
            12And they again as once in spirit blent
            13Look thro' the veil this day and hear the fret
            14Of many feet, the swelling music spent
            15On mourning listeners. With voices low,
            16Chanting their hymn, the boys sing as they go,
            17"He giveth his Beloved sleep." What tho'
            18The perishable forms these two once wore
            19In different lands lie sundered by the sea;
            20Their spirits smile at this our fond regret:
            21"What matters anything since we have met,"
            22They radiant sing. Together! oh, what more
            23Can love, long parted, from the Eterrnal crave?

            24And if there be no meeting past the grave,
            25If all is darkness, silence, yet 'tis rest.
            26Be not afraid, ye waiting hearts that weep,
            27For God still giveth his belovèd sleep,
            28And if an endless sleep he wills, -- so best.


1] Abbey: Westminster Abbey.

10] The poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861).

17] The epigraph for Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "The Sleep," from Psalms 127.2.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Poems of Henrietta A. Huxley with Three of Thomas Henry Huxley (London: Duckworth, 1913): 51-52. 9700.d.1043 Cambridge University Library; dar Fisher Rare Book Library (autograph)
First publication date: 1913
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2002
Recent editing: 1:2002/12/21

Composition date: 1889
Rhyme: irregularly rhyming

Other poems by Henrietta Anne Huxley