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Alfred H. Miles, ed. The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century. 1907.

By Poems Old and New. IV. Dying Words

Charles Dent Bell (1819–1898)

  • “When I am dead, think of me as in the next room. It is the same house, only one is to the back, and the other to the front.”

  • DEAREST, when from thy sight I’ve passed away,

    And from my glass has run out all the sand,

    When you no more shall see me day by day,

    Or feel the loving pressure of my hand,

    And I have gone into the shadowy land,

    I ask for this,—you will not say me nay,—

    That memories of me be free from gloom,

    Oh, “think of me as in the other room!”

    Sorrow not overmuch, nor greatly weep,

    Mourning because I am amongst the dead;

    Rather believe I only am asleep,

    And dreaming sweetly on a painless bed,

    Where God has smoothed the pillow for my head

    And bright-winged angels watch around me keep.

    Oh, speak not of me in the silent tomb,

    But “think of me as in the other room.”

    “The other room”—the house is just the same;

    The chambers vary as regards the place—

    One lieth to the front, where all aflame

    The sky is glowing with the sun’s bright face;

    The other, to the back, has dimmer grace,

    Set also in a smaller, meaner frame:

    But is not God in both, dear love? with Whom,

    “I pass from this into the other room.”

    I know, belov’d, my loss will make you sad,

    I know full well you cannot choose but grieve;

    But think of all the blessedness we’ve had.

    O home, more happy than I could conceive!

    O God, who in my lot such bliss did weave!

    O love, for twelve sweet years which made me glad!

    Why should dark sorrow all your life consume

    When I but pass “into the other room”?

    True, often in the gathering shades of night,

    When sitting by our dear hearth all alone,

    Your heart will ache, because you think the light,

    The bloom, from off your life has passed and gone

    And left it joyless, colourless, and wan,

    Bereaved of all you say did make it bright.

    But let your mind its calm and peace resume,

    And “think of me as in the other room.”

    And when you feel aweary of the strife

    With sin and sorrow, falsehood, wrong and pain,

    Wishing for one who used to cheer your life,

    Whose joy it was to comfort and sustain,

    And help you bear the pressure and the strain,

    Whose dearest thought is this—she is your wife,

    ’Twill touch with light the clouds that darkly loom,

    To “think of me as in the other room.”

    And when a silence broods o’er stair and hall,

    Unbroken by a voice you loved to hear,

    And when I answer not, although you call,

    Yet still believing I am very near,

    This one sweet thought will check the rising tear,

    And hold it on the cheek before it fall,—

    I may step any time from out the gloom,

    Being so near you in “the other room.”

    “The other room,” beloved, not far away,

    For though removed a little from your sight,

    I shall be ever near you, day by day,

    And when the evening darkens into night;

    And surely it will be a strange delight,

    Which all my pain and grief will overpay,

    To know that through your life this hope shall bloom

    —We meet again within “the other room.”