There is no flock, however watched and tended,
But one dead lamb is there!
There is no fireside, howsoe'er defended,
But has one vacant chair!
The air is full of farewells to the dying,
And mournings for the dead
The heart of Rachel, for her children crying,
Will not be comforted!
Let us be patient! These severe afflictions
Not from the ground arise,
But oftentimes celestial benedictions
Assume this dark disguise.
We see but dimly through the mists and vapours;
Amid these earthly damps
What seem to us but sad, funeral tapers
May be Heaven's distant lamps.
There is no death! What seems so is transition.
This life of mortal breath
Is but a suburb of life elysian,
Whose portal we call death.
She is not dead, ‑ the child of our affection,
But gone unto that school
Where she no longer needs our protection,
And Christ himself doth rule.
In that great cloister's stillness and seclusion,
By guardian angels led,
Safe from temptation, safe from sin's pollution,
She lives, whom we call dead.
Longfellow 1807 - 82.