I saw a slowly-stepping train –
Lined on the brows, scoop-eyed and bent and hoar –
Following in files across a twilit plain
A strange and mystic form the foremost bore.
And by contagious throbs of thought
Or latent knowledge that within me lay
And had already stirred me, I was wrought
To consciousness of sorrow even as they.
The fore-borne shape, to my blurred eyes,
At first seemed man-like, and anon to change
To an amorphous cloud of marvellous size,
At times endowed with wings of glorious range.
And this phantasmal variousness
Ever possessed it as they drew along:
Yet throughout all it symboled none the less
Potency vast and loving-kindness strong.
Almost before I knew I bent
Towards the moving columns without a word;
They, growing in bulk and numbers as they went,
Struck out sick thoughts that could be overheard: –
‘O man-projected Figure, of late
Imaged as we, thy knell who shall survive?
Whence came it we were tempted to create
One whom we can no longer keep alive?
‘Framing him jealous, fierce, at first,
We gave him justice as the ages rolled,
Will to bless those by circumstance accurst,
And longsuffering, and mercies manifold.
‘And, tricked by our own early dream
And need of solace, we grew self-deceived,
Our making soon our maker did we deem,
And what we had imagined we believed,
‘Till, in Time’s stayless stealthy swing,
Uncompromising rude reality
Mangled the Monarch of our fashioning,
Who quavered, sank; and now has ceased to be.
‘So, toward our myth’s oblivion,
Darkling, and languid-lipped, we creep and grope
Sadlier than those who wept in Babylon,
Whose Zion was a still abiding hope.
‘How sweet it was in years far hied
To start the wheels of day with trustful prayer,
To lie down liegely at the eventide
And feel a blest assurance he was there!
‘And who or what shall fill his place?
Whither will wanderers turn distracted eyes
For some fixed star to stimulate their pace
Towards the goal of their enterprise?’…
Some in the background then I saw,
Sweet women, youths, men, all incredulous,
Who chimed as one: ‘This is figure is of straw,
This requiem mockery! Still he lives to us!’
I could not prop their faith: and yet
Many I had known: with all I sympathized;
And though struck speechless, I did not forget
That what was mourned for, I, too, once had prized.
Still, how to bear such loss I deemed
The insistent question for each animate mind,
And gazing, to my growing sight there seemed
A pale yet positive gleam low down behind,
Whereof, to lift the general night,
A certain few who stood aloof had said,
‘See you upon the horizon that small light –
Swelling somewhat?’ Each mourner shook his head.
And they composed a crowd of whom
Some were right good, and many nigh the best….
Thus dazed and puzzled ‘twixt the gleam and gloom
Mechanically I followed with the rest.
(Poem by Thomas Hardy )
Under the Great Comedian’s tomb the crowd.
A bundle of tempestuous cloud is blown
About the sky; where that is clear of cloud
Brightness remains; a brighter star shoots down;
What shudders run through all that animal blood?
What is this sacrifice? Can someone there
Recall the Cretan barb that pierced a star?
Rich foliage that the starlight glittered through,
A frenzied crowd, and where the branches sprang
A beautiful seated boy; a sacred bow;
A woman, and an arrow on a string;
A pierced boy, image of a star laid low.
That woman, the Great Mother imaging,
Cut out his heart. Some master of design
Stamped boy and tree upon Sicilian coin.
An age is the reversal of an age:
When strangers murdered Emmet, Fitzgerald, Tone,
We lived like men that watch a painted stage.
What matter for the scene, the scene once gone:
It had not touched our lives. But popular rage,
Hysterica passio dragged this quarry down.
None shared our guilt; nor did we play a part
Upon a painted stage when we devoured his heart.
Come, fix upon me that accusing eye.
I thirst for accusation. All that was sung.
All that was said in Ireland is a lie
Bred out of the c-ontagion of the throng,
Saving the rhyme rats hear before they die.
Leave nothing but the nothingS that belong
To this bare soul, let all men judge that can
Whether it be an animal or a man.
(Poem by William Butler)
Whoever comes to shroud me, do not harm
Nor question much
That subtle wreath of hair which crowns my arm;
The mystery, the sign, you must not touch,
For ’tis my outward Soul,
Viceroy to that which then to heaven being gone
Will leave this to control
And keep these limbs, her Provinces, from dissolution.
For if the sinewy thread my brain lets fall
Through every part
Can tie those parts, and make me one of all,
These hairs, which upward grew, and strength and art
Have from a better brain,
Can better do’t; except she meant that I
By this should know my pain,
As prisoners then are manacled when they’re condemned to die.
Whate’er she meant by ‘t, bury it with me,
For since I am
Love’s martyr, it might breed idolatry
If into others’ hands these relics came;
As ’twas humility
To afford to it all that a Soul can do,
So ’tis some bravery
That since you would save none of me, I bury some of you.
(Poem by John Donne)
Pale, at its ghastly noon,
Pauses above the death-still wood–the moon;
The night-sprite, sighing, through the dim air stirs;
The clouds descend in rain;
Mourning, the wan stars wane,
Flickering like dying lamps in sepulchres!
Haggard as spectres–vision-like and dumb,
Dark with the pomp of death, and moving slow,
Towards that sad lair the pale procession come
Where the grave closes on the night below.
With dim, deep-sunken eye,
Crutched on his staff, who trembles tottering by?
As wrung from out the shattered heart, one groan
Breaks the deep hush alone!
Crushed by the iron fate, he seems to gather
All life’s last strength to stagger to the bier,
And hearken–Do these cold lips murmur “Father?”
The sharp rain, drizzling through that place of fear,
Pierces the bones gnawed fleshless by despair,
And the heart’s horror stirs the silver hair.
Fresh bleed the fiery wounds
Through all that agonizing heart undone–
Still on the voiceless lips “my Father” sounds,
And still the childless Father murmurs “Son!”
Ice-cold–ice-cold, in that white shroud he lies–
Thy sweet and golden dreams all vanished there–
The sweet and golden name of “Father” dies
Into thy curse,–ice-cold–ice-cold–he lies!
Dead, what thy life’s delight and Eden were!
Mild, as when, fresh from the arms of Aurora,
While the air like Elysium is smiling above,
Steeped in rose-breathing odors, the darling of Flora
Wantons over the blooms on his winglets of love.
So gay, o’er the meads, went his footsteps in bliss,
The silver wave mirrored the smile of his face;
Delight, like a flame, kindled up at his kiss,
And the heart of the maid was the prey of his chase.
Boldly he sprang to the strife of the world,
As a deer to the mountain-top carelessly springs;
As an eagle whose plumes to the sun are unfurled,
Swept his hope round the heaven on its limitless wings.
Proud as a war-horse that chafes at the rein,
That, kingly, exults in the storm of the brave;
That throws to the wind the wild stream of its mane,
Strode he forth by the prince and the slave!
Life like a spring day, serene and divine,
In the star of the morning went by as a trance;
His murmurs he drowned in the gold of the wine,
And his sorrows were borne on the wave of the dance.
Worlds lay concealed in the hopes of his youth!–
When once he shall ripen to manhood and fame!
Fond father exult!–In the germs of his youth
What harvests are destined for manhood and fame!
Not to be was that manhood!–The death-bell is knelling,
The hinge of the death-vault creaks harsh on the ears–
How dismal, O Death, is the place of thy dwelling!
Not to be was that manhood!–Flow on, bitter tears!
Go, beloved, thy path to the sun,
Rise, world upon world, with the perfect to rest;
Go–quaff the delight which thy spirit has won,
And escape from our grief in the Halls of the Blest.
Again (in that thought what a healing is found!)
To meet in the Eden to which thou art fled!–
Hark, the coffin sinks down with a dull, sullen sound,
And the ropes rattle over the sleep of the dead.
And we cling to each other!–O Grave, he is thine!
The eye tells the woe that is mute to the ears–
And we dare to resent what we grudge to resign,
Till the heart’s sinful murmur is choked in its tears.
Pale at its ghastly noon,
Pauses above the death-still wood–the moon!
The night-sprite, sighing, through the dim air stirs:
The clouds descend in rain;
Mourning, the wan stars wane,
Flickering like dying lamps in sepulchres.
The dull clods swell into the sullen mound;
Earth, one look yet upon the prey we gave!
The grave locks up the treasure it has found;
Higher and higher swells the sullen mound–
Never gives back the grave!
( Poem by Friedrich von Schiller)
Alas! Prince Henry of Battenberg is dead!
And, I hope, has gone to heaven, its streets to tread,
And to sing with God’s saints above,
Where all is joy and peace and love.
‘Twas in the year of 1896, and on the 5th of February,
Prince Henry was buried at Whippingham- a solemn sight to see.
As the funeral moved off, it was a very impressive sight-
First came the military, and police, and volunteers from the Isle of Wight.
Then came the carriage party of the Scots Guards;
While the people uncovered their heads as it passed onwards
And many of them did sob and sigh
When the gun carriage with the coffin was passing by.
Prince Henry’s charger was led by Richter, his stud groom;
And depicted in the people’s faces there was a sad gloom
When they saw the noble charger of the dead-
It seemed that all joy from them had fled.
The Queen’s carriage was followed by the Princess of Wales, and other Princesses,
All clad in gorgeous mourning dresses;
And there was a number of military representatives, which enhanced the scene;
And as the procession moved along it was solemn in the extreme.
Her Majesty looked very sad and serene,
Leaning back in her carriage could plainly be seen;
And the carriage was drawn by a pair of greys in grand harness;
And Her Majesty seemed to be in deep distress.
By Her Majesty’s side sat the Princess Beatrice
And the two younger Battenberg children, looking very nice;
And by the coffin walked the elder Prince, immediately
Between Prince Louis and Prince Joseph, holding their hands tenderly.
The “Dead March” was played by the Marine Band;
And the music was solemn and very grand,
And accompanied by the roll of muffled drums;
Whilst among the spectators were heard sighs and hums.
And when the procession arrived at the church of Whippingham,
Then the coffin was carried inside- of the good man-
And was then laid in its resting place,
While sorrow was depicted in every face.
Then there was the firing of guns, with their earthly Thunder
Which made the people start and wonder;
And the tolling of the village bells,
While the solemn music on the air swells.
And the people said, “Prince Henry was a good man,
But now he’s laid low in the church of Whippingham.”
But when the Grim King his dart does throw,
None can escape death, high or low.
The funeral service was certainly very nice-
Which was by the request of Princess Beatrice-
Which was the rendering of Sullivan’s anthem, “Brother, before us thou art gone”-
I hope unto thy heavenly home.
No Doubt the Princess Beatrice will mourn for him-
But to mourn for the dead it is a sin!
Therefore I hope God will comfort her always,
And watch o’er her children night and day.
Prince Henry was a God-fearing man-
And to deny it few people can-
And very kind to his children dear,
And for the loss of him they will drop a tear.
His relatives covered the coffin lid with wreaths of flowers,
While adown their cheeks flowed tears in showers.
Then the service concluded with “Christ will gather His own”;
And each one left with a sad heart and went home.
(Poem by William Topaz McGonagall)
Alas! Lord and LadyDalhousie are dead, and buried at last,
Which causes many people to feel a little downcast;
And both lie side by side in one grave,
But I hope God in His goodness their souls will save.
And may He protect their children that are left behind,
And may they always food and raiment find;
And from the paths of virtue may they ne’er be led,
And may they always find a house wherein to lay their head.
Lord Dalhousie was a man worthy of all praise,
And to his memory I hope a monument the people will raise,
That will stand for many ages to came
To commemorate the good deeds he has done.
He was beloved by men of high and low degree,
Especially in Forfarshire by his tenantry:
And by many of the inhabitants in and around Dundee,
Because he was affable in temper. and void of all vanity.
He had great affection for his children, also his wife,
‘Tis said he loved her as dear as his life;
And I trust they are now in heaven above,
Where all is joy, peace, and love.
At the age of fourteen he resolved to go to sea,
So he entered the training ship Britannia belonging the navy,
And entered as a midshipman as he considered most fit
Then passed through the course of training with the greatest credit.
In a short time he obtained the rank of lieutenant,
Then to her Majesty’s ship Galatea he was sent;
Which was under the command of the Duke of Edinburgh,
And during his service there he felt but little sorrow.
And from that he was promoted to be commander of the Britannia,
And was well liked by the men, for what he said was law;
And by him Prince Albert Victor and Prince George received a naval education.
Which met with the Prince of Wales’ roost hearty approbation.
‘Twas in the year 1877 he married the Lady Ada Louisa Bennett,
And by marrying that noble lady he ne’er did regret;
And he was ever ready to give his service in any way,
Most willingly and cheerfully by night or by day.
‘Twas in the year of 1887, and on Thursday the 1st of December,
Which his relatives and friends will long remember
That were present at the funeral in Cockpen, churchyard,
Because they had for the noble Lord a great regard.
About eleven o’clock the remains reached Dalhousie,
And were met by a body of the tenantry.
They conveyed them inside the building allseemingly woe begone
And among those that sent wreaths was Lord Claude Hamilton.
Those that sent wreaths were but very few,
But one in particular was the Duke of Buccleuch;
Besides Dr. Herbert Spencer, and Countess Rosebery, and Lady Bennett,
Which no doubt were sent by them with heartfelt regret.
Besides those that sent wreaths in addition were the Earl and Countess of Aberdeen,
Especially the Prince of Wales’ was most lovely to be seen,
And the Earl of Dalkeith’s wreath was very pretty too,
With a mixture of green and white flowers, beautiful to view.
Amongst those present at the interment were Mr Marjoribanks, M.P.,
Also ex-Provost Ballingall from Bonnie Dundee;
Besides the Honourable W. G. Colville, representing the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh,
While in every one’s face standing at the grave was depicted sorrow.
The funeral service was conducted in the Church of Cockpen
By the Rev. J. Crabb, of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, town of Brechin;And as the two coffins were lowered into their last resting place, Then the people retired with sad hearts at a quick pace.
(Poem by William Topaz McGonagall)
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