Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. IV. The Higher Life
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume IV. The Higher Life.  1904.
 
VII. Death: Immortality: Heaven
The Two Worlds
Mortimer Collins (1827–1876)
 
TWO worlds there are. To one our eyes we strain,
Whose magic joys we shall not see again;
    Bright haze of morning veils its glimmering shore.
        Ah, truly breathed we there
        Intoxicating air—        5
    Glad were our hearts in that sweet realm of
          Nevermore.
 
The lover there drank her delicious breath
Whose love has yielded since to change or death;
    The mother kissed her child, whose days are o’er.        10
        Alas! too soon have fled
        The irreclaimable dead:
    We see them—visions strange—amid the
          Nevermore.
 
The merrysome maiden used to sing—        15
The brown, brown hair that once was wont to cling
    To temples long clay-cold: to the very core
        They strike our weary hearts,
        As some vexed memory starts
    From that long faded land—the realm of        20
          Nevermore.
 
It is perpetual summer there. But here
Sadly may we remember rivers clear,
    And harebells quivering on the meadow-floor.
        For brighter bells and bluer,        25
        For tenderer hearts and truer
    People that happy land—the realm of
          Nevermore.
 
Upon the frontier of this shadowy land
We pilgrims of eternal sorrow stand:        30
    What realm lies forward, with its happier store
        Of forests green and deep,
        Of valleys hushed in sleep,
    And lakes most peaceful? ’T is the land of
          Evermore.        35
 
Very far off its marble cities seem—
Very far off—beyond our sensual dream—
    Its woods, unruffled by the wild wind’s roar;
        Yet does the turbulent surge
        Howl on its very verge.        40
    One moment—and we breathe within the
          Evermore.
 
They whom we loved and lost so long ago
Dwell in those cities, far from mortal woe—
    Haunt those fresh woodlands, whence sweet carollings soar.        45
        Eternal peace have they;
        God wipes their tears away:
    They drink that river of life which flows from
          Evermore.
 
Thither we hasten through these regions dim,        50
But, lo, the wide wings of the Seraphim
    Shine in the sunset! On that joyous shore
        Our lightened hearts shall know
        The life of long ago:
    The sorrow-burdened past shall fade for        55
          Evermore.
 
 
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