Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. IX. Tragedy: Humor
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume IX. Tragedy: Humor.  1904.
 
Poems of Tragedy: VIII. France
Before Sedan
Henry Austin Dobson (1840–1921)
 
 “The dead hand clasped a letter.”
—SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT.    

HERE in this leafy place,
  Quiet he lies,
Cold, with his sightless face
  Turned to the skies;
’T is but another dead;—        5
All you can say is said.
 
Carry his body hence,—
  Kings must have slaves;
Kings climb to eminence
  Over men’s graves.        10
So this man’s eye is dim;—
Throw the earth over him.
 
What was the white you touched,
  There at his side?
Paper his hand had clutched        15
  Tight ere he died;
Message or wish, may be:—
Smooth out the folds and see.
 
Hardly the worst of us
  Here could have smiled!—        20
Only the tremulous
  Words of a child:—
Prattle, that had for stops
Just a few ruddy drops.
 
Look. She is sad to miss,        25
  Morning and night,
His—her dead father’s—kiss,
  Tries to be bright,
Good to mamma, and sweet.
That is all. “Marguerite.”        30
 
Ah, if beside the dead
  Slumbered the pain!
Ah, if the hearts that bled
  Slept with the slain!
If the grief died!—But no:—        35
Death will not have it so.
 
 
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