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The Poetical Works of George MacDonald (Parables)

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Quiet I lay at last, and knew no more

Whether I breathed or not, so worn I lay With the death-struggle. What was yet before

Neither I met, nor turned from it away;

My only conscious being was the rest Of pain gone dead--dead with the bygone day,

And long I could have lingered all but blest

In that half-slumber. But there came a sound As of a door that opened--in the west

Somewhere I thought it. As the hare the hound,

The noise did start my eyelids and they rose. I turned my eyes and looked. Then straight I found

It was my chamber-door that did unclose,

For a tall form up to my bedside drew. Grand was it, silent, its very walk repose;

And when I saw the countenance, I knew

That I was lying in my chamber dead; For this my brother--brothers such are few--

That now to greet me bowed his kingly head,

Had, many years agone, like holy dove Returning, from his friends and kindred sped,

And, leaving memories of mournful love,

Passed vanishing behind the unseen veil; And though I loved him, all high words above.

Not for his loss then did I weep or wail,

Knowing that here we live but in a tent, And, seeking home, shall find it without fail.

Feeble but eager, toward him my hands went--

I too was dead, so might the dead embrace! Taking me by the shoulders down he bent,

And lifted me. I was in sickly case,

But, growing stronger, stood up on the floor, There turned, and once regarded my dead face

With curious eyes: its brow contentment wore,

But I had done with it, and turned away. I saw my brother by the open door,

And followed him out into the night blue-gray.

The houses stood up hard in limpid air, The moon hung in the heavens in half decay,

And all the world to my bare feet lay bare.

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