In Memoriam (Poem by Edwin John Dove Pratt)

Beautiful Poem


In Memoriam (1)
By Edwin John Dove Pratt


The Dead! Upon a purple-bordered scroll
    We wrote their names; then gazed awhile, and said:
    "These are the fallen; these, our honored dead,
The silent ones in Death's vast muster roll.
This one was strong and ruddy; that one frail,
    Though fleet of foot and keen. The first one met
    His fate in that fierce fight at Courcelette;
The other died of wounds at Passchendaele."

And thus we mused, pointing from name to name
    With sad, slow count. We spoke of things like grass,
And withered leaves, and faded flowers, birth,
Old age, decay and dust, glory and fame,
    And other strange mortalities that pass
At length into the all-insatiate earth.


In Memoriam (2)


Then, suddenly, through the mist that wrapped our sight,
    An utterance fell, as of great waters flowing — 
    Slow, but with mightier accent ever growing
Around a blazing shaft of central light:
"Fallen! There is no downward plunge. The estate
    Is high. Go! — roll thy plumb-line up, and ask
    Thy Master for His measures, as the task
Is one that would the heavens triangulate,"

And so were compassed life's fine agonies;
    By ranging hopes, and longings cut adrift
From earth's unstable shores; by faiths that spanned
Illimitable wastes and wrecking seas;
    By noble strands of nature, scattered swift
From the white fingers of God's spacious hand.

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