SLAIN

Hollow a grave where the willows wave,
   And lay him under the grasses,
Where the pitying breeze bloweth up from the seas,
   And murmurs a chant as it passes.

Lay the beautiful face and the form of grace
   Away from the gaze of mortal.
Let us hope that his soul has gained the goal
   Over the shining portal.

Hope! Ah! we thrill with a terrible chill.
   Ah! pen, can you tell the story
Of the one who died in his manhood's pride,
   Slain in the morn of his glory?

There's a blemish of shame on the dear one's name,
   For he died as the drunkard dieth.
The ruddy wine-mug was the fiend who dug
   The grave where our darling lieth.

O God! and his soul, was it lost in the bowl?
   Has it gone where the wicked goeth?
Shall he bear the sin, and the tempter go in
   Where the beautiful city gloweth?

Hush! O my heart! act well thy part,
   Nor question a Father's kindness,
And strive not to see the thing hid from thee
   By a veil of earthly blindness.

But all through the wine may there shimmer and shine,
   As it glimmers and glows in the glasses,
A coffin and grave, and the willows that wave
   Over our dead 'neath the grasses.

Drops of Water: Poems by Ella Wheeler
New York : The National Temperance Society and Publication House, 1872.


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