Verse > Anthologies > Thomas R. Lounsbury, ed. > Yale Book of American Verse
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Thomas R. Lounsbury, ed. (1838–1915). Yale Book of American Verse.  1912.
 
John Greenleaf Whittier. 1807–1892
 
74. Lines on the Death of S. O. Torrey
 
Secretary of the Boston Young Men's Anti-Slavery Society
 
GONE before us, O our brother, 
  To the spirit-land! 
Vainly look we for another 
  In thy place to stand. 
Who shall offer youth and beauty         5
  On the wasting shrine 
Of a stern and lofty duty, 
  With a faith like thine? 
  
O, thy gentle smile of greeting 
  Who again shall see?  10
Who amidst the solemn meeting 
  Gaze again on thee?— 
Who, when peril gathers o'er us, 
  Wear so calm a brow? 
Who, with evil men before us,  15
  So serene as thou? 
  
Early hath the spoiler found thee, 
  Brother of our love! 
Autumn's faded earth around thee, 
  And its storms above!  20
Evermore that turf lie lightly, 
  And, with future showers, 
O'er thy slumbers fresh and brightly 
  Blow the summer flowers! 
  
In the locks thy forehead gracing,  25
  Not a silvery streak; 
Nor a line of sorrow's tracing 
  On thy fair young cheek; 
Eyes of light and lips of roses, 
  Such as Hylas wore—  30
Over all that curtain closes, 
  Which shall rise no more! 
  
Will the vigil Love is keeping 
  Round that grave of thine, 
Mournfully, like Jazer weeping  35
  Over Sibmah's vine,— 
Will the pleasant memories, swelling 
  Gentle hearts, of thee, 
In the spirit's distant dwelling 
  All unheeded be?  40
  
If the spirit ever gazes, 
  From its journeyings, back; 
If the immortal ever traces 
  O'er its mortal track; 
Wilt thou not, O brother, meet us  45
  Sometimes on our way, 
And, in hours of sadness, greet us 
  As a spirit may? 
  
Peace be with thee, O our brother, 
  In the spirit-land!  50
Vainly look we for another 
  In thy place to stand. 
Unto Truth and Freedom giving 
  All thy early powers, 
Be thy virtues with the living,  55
  And thy spirit ours! 
 
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