The Dead

How great unto the living seem the dead!

How sacred, solemn; how heroic grown;

How vast and vague, as they obscurely tread

The shadowy confines of the dim unknown! —

For they have met the monster that we dread,

Have learned the secret not to mortal shown.

E’en as gigantic shadows on the wall

The spirit of the daunted child amaze,

So on us thoughts of the departed fall,

And with phantasma fill our gloomy gaze.

Awe and deep wonder lend the living lines,

And hope and ecstasy the borrowed beams;

While fitful fancy the full form divines,

And all is what imagination dreams.