115. Separation of Friends

DO not their souls, who 'neath the Altar wait
     Until their second birth,
The gift of patience need, as separate
     From their first friends of earth?
Not that earth's blessings are not all outshone
     By Eden's Angel flame,
But that earth knows not yet, the Dead has won
     That crown, which was his aim.
For when he left it, 'twas a twilight scene
     About his silent bier,
A breathless struggle, faith and sight between,
     And Hope and sacred Fear.
Fear startled at his pains and dreary end,
     Hope raised her chalice high,
And the twin-sisters still his shade attend,
     View'd in the mourner's eye. {196}
So day by day for him from earth ascends,
     As steam in summer-even,
The speechless intercession of his friends,
     Toward the azure heaven.
Ah dearest, with a word he could dispel
     All questioning, and raise
Our hearts to rapture, whispering all was well
     And turning prayer to praise.
And other secrets too he could declare,
     By patterns all divine,
His earthly creed retouching here and there,
     And deepening every line.
Dearest! he longs to speak, as I to know,
     And yet we both refrain:
It were not good: a little doubt below,
     And all will soon be plain [Note].

June 27, 1833.

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The last twelve lines were added after Feb. 28, 1836,
the date of  R. Hurrell Froude's death.
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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
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