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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

The Family Meeting

By Charles Sprague (1791–1875)

[From The Poetical and Prose Writings of Charles Sprague. 1876.]

WE are all here!

Father, mother,

Sister, brother,

All who hold each other dear.

Each chair is filled—we’re all at home;

To-night let no cold stranger come;

It is not often thus around

Our old familiar hearth we’re found.

Bless, then, the meeting and the spot;

For once be every care forgot;

Let gentle Peace assert her power,

And kind affection rule the hour;

We’re all—all here.

We’re not all here!

Some are away—the dead ones dear,

Who thronged with us this ancient hearth,

And gave the hour to guiltless mirth.

Fate, with a stern, relentless hand,

Looked in and thinned our little band;

Some like a night-flash passed away,

And some sank, lingering, day by day;

The quiet graveyard—some lie there—

And cruel ocean has his share—

We’re not all here.

We are all here!

Even they—the dead—though dead, so dear.

Fond Memory, to her duty true,

Brings back their faded forms to view.

How life-like, through the mist of years,

Each well-remembered face appears?

We see them as in times long past;

From each to each kind looks are cast;

We hear their words, their smiles behold,

They’re round us as they were of old—

We are all here.

We are all here!

Father, mother,

Sister, brother,

You that I love with love so dear.

This may not long of us be said;

Soon must we join the gathered dead;

And by the hearth we now sit round

Some other circle will be found.

O, then, that wisdom may we know,

Which yields a life of peace below!

So, in the world to follow this,

May each repeat, in words of bliss,

We’re all—all here!