Home  »  Lyra Sacra: A Book of Religious Verse  »  Separation of Friends

Henry Charles Beeching, ed. (1859–1919). Lyra Sacra: A Book of Religious Verse. 1903.

By John Henry Newman (1801–1890)

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 out-shone        5
  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,        10
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,        15
  View’d in the mourner’s eye.
So day by day for him from earth ascends,
  As dew 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,        25
  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:        30
It were not good: a little doubt below,
  And all will soon be plain.