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

By The British Months (1835) (November). Christian Consolation on the Death of Friends

Richard Mant (1776–1848)

IT has been said, and I believe,

Though tears of natural sorrow start,

’Tis mixt with pleasure when we grieve

For those the dearest to the heart,

From whom long-loved at length we part;

As by a Christian’s feelings led

We lay them in their peaceful bed.

Yet speak I not of those who go

The allotted pilgrimage on earth,

With earth-born passions grovelling low,

Enslaved to honour, avarice, mirth,

Unconscious of a nobler birth:

But such as tread with loftier scope

The Christian’s path with Christian hope.

We grieve to think, that they again,

Shall ne’er in this world’s pleasure share:

But sweet the thought that this world’s pain

No more is theirs; that this world’s care

It is no more their lot to bear.

And surely in this scene below

The joy is balanced by the woe.

We grieve to see the lifeless form,

The livid cheek, the sunken eye:

But sweet to think, corruption’s worm

The living spirit can defy,

And claim its kindred with the sky.

Lo! where the earthen vessel lies!

Aloft the unbodied tenant flies.

We grieve to think, our eyes no more

That form, those features loved, shall trace,

But sweet it is from memory’s store

To call each fondly-cherished grace,

And fold them in the heart’s embrace.

No bliss ’mid worldly crowds is bred,

Like musing on the sainted dead!

We grieve to see expired the race

They ran, intent on works of love:

But sweet to think, no mixture base,

Which with their better nature strove,

Shall mar their virtuous deeds above.

Sin o’er their soul has lost his hold,

And left them with their earthly mould!

We grieve to know, that we must roam

Apart from them each wonted spot:

But sweet to think, that they a home

Have gained; a fair and goodly lot,

Enduring, and that changeth not.

And who that home of freedom there

Will with his prison-house compare?

’Tis grief to feel, that we behind,

Severed from those we love remain:

’Tis joy to hope, that we shall find,

Exempt from sorrow, fear, and pain,

With them our dwelling-place again.

’Tis but like them to sink to rest,

With them to waken and be blest.

O Thou, who form’st Thy creature’s mind

With thoughts that chasten and that cheer,

Grant me to fill my space assigned

For sojourning a stranger here

With holy hope and filial fear:

Fear to be banished far from Thee,

And hope Thy face unveiled to see!

There before Thee, the Great, the Good,

By angel myriads compassed round,

“Made perfect” by the Saviour’s blood,

With virtue clothed, with honour crowned,

“The spirits of the just” are found:

There tears no more of sorrow start,

Pain flies the unmolested heart,

And life in bliss unites whom death no more shall part.