LINES WRITTEN UPON THE DEATH OF JAMES BUELL

Something is missing from the balmy spring;
   There is no perfume in its gentle breath;
And there are sobs, in songs the wild birds sing,
   And all the bees chant of the grave and death--
Something is missing from the earth. One morn
   The angels called a new name on the roll;
A spirit-soldier to their ranks was borne,
   And all Christ's army welcomed the pure young soul.

He died. Two little words, but only God
   Can understand the awful depths of woe
They hold for those who pass beneath the rod,
   Praying for strength, from Him who aimed the blow.
He died. The soldier who fought long and well,
   Who walked with Death upon the battle-field,
Among the bellowing guns--the shrieking shell--
   In poison prison dens--and would not yield.

A six month three times told he languished there,
   And yet he lived; oh, young heart, strong and brave!
Thank God, who heard the oft repeated prayer;
   Thank God, he does not fill a Southern grave;
That when he died, the loved ones gathered round
   And eased the anguish of those last, sad hours;
That gentle hands can keep the precious mound
   All green with mosses, and abloom with flowers.

He was so young and fair; and life so sweet.
   Christ give the mourners strength to drain the cup.
He went to make the Heavenly ranks complete.
   God sent the angel Death to bear him up
So young, and fair and brave; so loved by all;
   The lisping child-life's veteran, bent and gray--
And eyes grow dim, and bitter tear-drops fall
   Upon the mound where lies the soldier's clay.

Oh! it is sweet to feel that God knows best,
   Who called in youth this brother, friend, and son,
And sweet to lean upon the Saviour's breast,
   And looking upwards, say, "Thy will be done."
But something is missing from the balmy spring;
   There is no perfume in its gentle breath,
And there are sobs in songs the wild birds sing,
   And all the bees chant of the grave and death.

Poems of reflection. By Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
Chicago, M.A. Donohue & company [c1905].


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