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

By Thoughts and Fancies (1887). III. “O’er land and sea”

Walter Chalmers Smith (1824–1908)

O’ER land and sea love follows with fond prayers

Its dear ones in their troubles, griefs, and cares;

There is no spot

On which it does not drop this tender dew,

Except the grave, and there it bids adieu,

And prayeth not.

Why should that be the only place uncheered

By prayer, which to our hearts is most endeared,

And sacred grown?

Living, we sought for blessings on their head;

Why should our lips be sealed when they are dead,

And we alone?

Idle? their doom is fixed? Ah! who can tell?

Yet, were it so, I think no harm could well

Come of my prayer:

And O the heart, o’erburdened with its grief,

This comfort needs, and finds therein relief

From its despair.

Shall God be wroth because we love them still,

And call upon His love to shield from ill

Our dearest, best,

And bring them home, and recompense their pain,

And cleanse their sin, if any sin remain,

And give them rest?

Nay, I will not believe it. I will pray

As for the living, for the dead each day.

They will not grow

Less meet for heaven when followed by a prayer

To speed them home, like summer-scented air

From long ago.

Who shall forbid the heart’s desires to flow

Beyond the limit of the things we know?

In heaven above

The incense that the golden censers bear,

Is the sweet perfume from the saintly prayer

Of trust and love.