The Burial of Moses by Cecil F. Alexander

"And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor;
but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day."

By Nebo's lonely mountain,
On this side Jordan's wave,
In a vale in the land of Moab
There lies a lonely grave,
And no man knows that sepulchre,
And no man saw it e'er,
For the angels of God upturn'd the sod
And laid the dead man there.
 
That was the grandest funeral
That ever pass'd on earth;
But no man heard the trampling,
Or saw the train go forth—
Noiselessly as the daylight
Comes back when night is done,
And the crimson streak on ocean's cheek
Grows into the great sun.
 
Noiselessly as the springtime
Her crown of verdure weaves,
And all the trees on all the hills
Open their thousand leaves;
So without sound of music,
Or voice of them that wept,
Silently down from the mountain's crown
The great procession swept.
 
Perchance the bald old eagle
On gray Beth-peor's height,
Out of his lonely eyrie
Look'd on the wondrous sight;
Perchance the lion, stalking,
Still shuns that hallow'd spot,
For beast and bird have seen and heard
That which man knoweth not.
 
But when the warrior dieth,
His comrades in the war,
With arms reversed and muffled drum,
Follow his funeral car;
They show the banners taken,
They tell his battles won,
And after him lead his masterless steed,
While peals the minute gun.
 
Amid the noblest of the land
We lay the sage to rest,
And give the bard an honor'd place,
With costly marble drest,
In the great minster transept
Where lights like glories fall,
And the organ rings, and the sweet choir sings
Along the emblazon'd wall.
 
This was the truest warrior
That ever buckled sword,
This was the most gifted poet
That ever breathed a word;
And never earth's philosopher
Traced with his golden pen,
On the deathless page, truths half so sage
As he wrote down for men.
 
And had he not high honor,—
The hillside for a pall,
To lie in state while angels wait
With stars for tapers tall,
And the dark rock-pines like tossing plumes,
Over his bier to wave,
And God's own hand, in that lonely land,
To lay him in the grave?
 
In that strange grave without a name,
Whence his uncoffin'd clay
Shall break again, O wondrous thought!
Before the judgment day,
And stand with glory wrapt around
On the hills he never trod,
And speak of the strife that won our life
With the Incarnate Son of God.
 
O lonely grave in Moab's land
O dark Beth-peor's hill,
Speak to these curious hearts of ours,
And teach them to be still.
God hath His mysteries of grace,
Ways that we cannot tell;
He hides them deep like the hidden sleep
Of him He loved so well.