Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
1177. Pray for the Dead
 
By Arthur Wentworth Hamilton Eaton
 
 
PRAY for the dead—who bids thee not?
Do all our human loves grow pale,
Or are the old needs all forgot
When men have passed within the veil?
 
Shall prayer’s strong pleadings pierce the skies        5
For those we still keep with us here,
And not a single wish arise
For loved ones in a happier sphere?
 
Have they no conquests yet to win,
No rugged heights of truth to climb;        10
Does no strange syllable of sin
Mar the soft cadence of their rhyme;
 
Or has God snapped the strong, sweet ties
He took such loving pains to weld,
And said, “Henceforth their memories        15
In prayerless silence must be held”?
 
Pray for the dead: the links that bound
Thy soul to theirs were forged on high;
Borne upward, they have surely found
The chain still fastened in the sky.        20
 
And who of us so wise to say
That they have lost the need of prayer!
Heaven’s gates are not so far away
That earth goes unremembered there.
 
Pray for the dead, nor dare repress        25
Thy longings at the throne of grace;
Our dead ones are more dear, not less,
In the pure presence of God’s face.
 
And strength and faith are needed, there
As here, inspired life to win—        30
Nor see alone the gateways fair
Of Heaven’s great life, but enter in.
 
Love well and pray for all thy dead:
God gives thee such sweet liberty,
He means where’er their souls are sped,        35
That they shall be in touch with thee.
 

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