Menella Bute Smedley

On The Death of Prince Albert

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Out of a tomb the world's hope went of old,
While angels shone around, Force shrank away,
And weeping Love, eternally consoled,
Went back to labour in the light of day;
And still about our graves our hopes are rife;
Thence the remembrance of a noble life
Starts like a resurrection. Seal and crown
Are set on honour there. We trust the dead;
But living hands tear their own banners down,
And leave us kingless, sighing to be led.
And oft, when living tongues but mourn or rave,
Unanswerable accents from the grave
Utter decrees of patience. Let us hear
Those accents now. Softer they could not be,
Calming both grief and joy; for both are near,
And in this placid lake of memory
Both gaze, and grow more pure by what they see,
And, not forgetting, to their toils depart,
Each with a gathered flower upon the heart.
Well may those weeping eyes which once have seen
A perfect thought fulfil itself in deeds,
Dwell only on the days that might have been,
And watch the form, more bright as it recedes.
She asks no painter's skill; the sun may strike
His sternest image, let it but be like.
Nothing was there to soften or to hide,
And nothing to regret, save that he died.
No gain can match the glory of her loss;
It lights the future, where she walks alone,
Not pausing, not afraid to bear her cross,
Borne by a thousand hands, yet still her own.

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Menella Bute Smedley