Abram Joseph Ryan

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Only a few more years!
Weary years!
Only a few more tears!
Bitter tears!
And then — and then — like other men,
I cease to wander, cease to weep,
Dim shadows o'er my way shall creep;
And out of the day and into the night,
Into the dark and out of the bright
I go, and Death shall veil my face,
The feet of the years shall fast efface
My very name, and every trace
I leave on earth; for the stern years tread —
Tread out the names of the gone and dead!
And then, —ah! then, —like other men,
I close my eyes and go to sleep,
Only a few, one hour, shall weep:
Ah! me, the grave is dark and deep!

Alas! Alas!
How soon we pass!
And ah! we go
So far away;
When go we must,
From the light of Life, and the heat of strife,
To the peace of Death, and the cold, still dust,
We go — we go — we may not stay,
We travel the lone, dark, dreary way;
Out of the day and into the night,
Into the darkness, out of the bright.
And then, ah! then, like other men,
We close our eyes and go to sleep;
We hush our hearts and go to sleep;
Only a few, one hour, shall weep:
Ah! me, the grave is lone and deep!

I saw a flower, at morn, so fair;
I passed at eve, it was not there.
I saw a sunbeam, golden, bright,
I saw a cloud the sunbeam's shroud,
And I saw night
Digging the grave of day;
And day took off her golden crown,
And flung it sorrowfully down.

Ah! day: the Sun's fair bride!
At twilight moaned and died.
And so, alas! like day we pass:
At morn we smile,
At eve we weep,
At morn we wake,
In night we sleep.
We close our eyes and go to sleep:
Ah! me, the grave is still and deep!

But God is sweet.
My mother told me so,
When I knelt at her feet
Long — so long — ago;
She clasped my hands in hers.
Ah! me, that memory stirs
My soul's profoundest deep —
No wonder that I weep.
She clasped my hands and smiled,
Ah! then I was a child —
I knew not harm —
My mother's arm
Was flung around me; and I felt
That when I knelt
To listen to my mother's prayer,
God was with mother there.

Yea! "God is sweet!"
She told me so;
She never told me wrong;
And through my years of woe
Her whispers soft, and sad, and low,
And sweet as Angel's song,
Have floated like a dream.

And, ah! tonight I seem
A very child in my old, old place,
Beneath my mother's blessed face,
And through each sweet remembered word,
This sweetest undertone is heard:
"My child! my child! our God is sweet,
In Life — in Death — kneel at his feet —
Sweet in gladness, sweet in gloom,
Sweeter still beside the tomb."
Why should I wail? Why ought I weep?
The grave — it is not dark and deep;
Why should I sigh? Why ought I moan?
The grave — it is not still and lone;
Our God is sweet, our grave is sweet,
We lie there sleeping at His feet,
Where the wicked shall from troubling cease,
And weary hearts shall rest in peace!

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