The Pauper's Death Bed by C. B. Southey


   TREAD softly—bow the head;

In reverent silence bow;

No passing bell doth toll,

Yet an immortal soul

Is passing now.

Stranger! however great,

With lowly reverence bow;

There's one in that poor shed,

One by that paltry bed,

Greater than thou.


Beneath that beggar's roof,

Lo! Death doth keep his state;

Enter—no crowds attend;

Enter—no guards defend

This palace gate.

That pavement, damp and cold,

No smiling courtiers tread;

One silent woman stands,

Lifting with meagre hands

A dying head.

No mingling voices sound—

An infant wail alone:

A sob suppressed—again

That short, deep gasp, and then

The parting groan.

Oh! change!—Oh! wondrous change!—

Burst are the prison bars—

This moment there, so low,

So agonized, and now

Beyond the stars!

Oh! change—stupendous change!

There lies the soulless clod!

The sun eternal breaks—

The new immortal wakes

Wakes with his God!