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

By Poems. I. Stars and Graves

William Walsham How (1823–1897)


  • “Solemn before us
  • Veiled, the dark portal,
  • Goal of all mortal:—
  • Stars silent rest o’er us,
  • Graves under us silent.”

  • THE POET scanned with mighty awe

    The mystery of Man;

    He spake the strange things that he saw,

    And thus it ran:—

    “The silent stars are overhead,

    The silent graves below:

    A dream between—how quickly fled!—

    Is all we know.”

    He pointed up—he pointed down—

    The witnesses were there.

    O’er the between a veil was thrown

    He could not tear.

    The Preacher saw the hand he raised,

    And heard the words he spake;

    And in his soul with grief amazed

    A fire outbreak.

    “Poet,” he cried, “the things we see

    They are not all we know;

    The web of thy philosophy

    I rend it so!”—

    He pointed with his eager hand

    Behind and then before,—

    And there, and there, for ever stand

    Two wonders more.

    “The silent stars sing out with mirth,

    The graves with grass are green:—

    Christ cometh twice upon the earth;—

    We live between!”