The Dead.

“πλείων χρονος
ὃν δει μ' ἀρέσκειν τοῖς κάτω, τῶν ἐνΘάδε.
ἐκει γὰπ αἰεὶ κείσομἀι.”
Soph. Antigone, vv. 74–76.

How do the Dead arise before thy sight?—
Unbidden guests in the deep hush of night,
With fixed, reproachful eyes,
Full of a sad surprise
That now they come again, they meet no more
The glad, fond greeting that they found of yore—
Thus do they rise?

Or are they ever with thee on thy way,
In dreams by night, in visions of the day,
Growing so clear and full at quiet eve,
That for a time the heart forgets to grieve,
Deeming that still it hath its treasure here—
So present doth it seem, so freshly dear?

Do they go with thee through the city's din,
Like guardian angels, saving thee from sin,
When thy foot falls on paths thy soul would rue?
Calming thy fevered heart with heavenly dew,
When proudly fighting in this world's fierce strife,
It recks not of that other, endless life!

Oh, cherish thou the memory of thy dead!—
'Tis better to behold red sunlight shed
Upon the far-off hills so lavishly,
And then to mark that sailless, sundering sea:
But wouldst thou have the sweet, sad sunlight fade,
And yield yon green, bright hills to night's dull shade?

Hath it no whisper for thy weary heart?
No tale of worlds where love-links never part?
What thought like this the soul of grief beguiles,
When others seek their homes so rich in smiles—
Thy day is longer, but its eve will come:
Thou, too, hast welcomes waiting thee at home!