Fountain of life, supernal Fire,

Who didst unite in wondrous wise

The soul that lives, the clay that dies,

And mad'st them Man: eternal Sire,

Both elements Thy will obey,

Thine is the bond that joins the twain,

And, while united they remain,

Spirit and body own Thy sway.

Yet they must one day disunite,

Sunder in death this mortal frame;

Dust to the dust from whence it came,

The spirit to its heavenward flight.

For all created things must wane,

And age must break the bond at last;

The diverse web that Life held fast

Death's fingers shall unweave again.

Yet, gracious God, Thou dost devise

The death of Death for all Thine own;

The path of safety Thou hast shown

Whereby the doomèd limbs may rise:

So that, while fragile bonds of earth

Man's noblest essence still enfold,

That part may yet the sceptre hold

Which from pure aether hath its birth.

For if the earthy will hold sway,

By gross desires and aims possessed,

The soul, too, by the weight oppressed,

Follows the body's downward way.

But if she scorn the guilt that mars--

Still mindful of her fiery sphere--

She bears the flesh, her comrade here,

Back to her home beyond the stars.

The lifeless body we restore

To earth, must slumber free from pain

A little while, that it may gain

The spirit's fellowship once more.

The years will pass with rapid pace

Till through these limbs the life shall flow,

And the long-parted spirit go

To seek her olden dwelling-place.

Then shall the body, that hath lain

And turned to dust in slow decay,

On airy wings be borne away

And join its ancient soul again.

Therefore our tenderest care we spend

Upon the grave: and mourners go

With solemn dirge and footstep slow--

Love's last sad tribute to a friend.

With fair white linen we enfold

The dear dead limbs, and richest store

Of Eastern unguents duly pour

Upon the body still and cold.

Why hew the rocky tomb so deep,

Why raise the monument so fair,

Save that the form we cherish there

Is no dead thing, but laid to sleep?

This is the faithful ministry

Of Christian men, who hold it true

That all shall one day live anew

Who now in icy slumber lie.

And he whose pitying hand shall lay

Some friendless outcast 'neath the sod,

E'en to the almighty Son of God

Doth that benignant service pay.

For this same law doth bid us mourn

Man's common fate, when strangers die,

And pay the tribute of a sigh,

As when our kin to rest are borne.

Of holy Tobit ye have read,

(Grave father of a pious son),

Who, though the feast was set, would run

To do his duty by the dead.

Though waiting servants stood around,

From meat and drink he turned away

And girt himself in haste to lay

The bones with weeping in the ground.

Soon Heaven his righteous zeal repays

With rich reward; the eyes long blind

In bitter gall strange virtue find

And open to the sun's clear rays.

Thus hath our Heavenly Father shown

How sharp and bitter is the smart

When sudden on the purblind heart

The Daystar's healing light is thrown.

He taught us, too, that none may gaze

Upon the heavenly demesne

Ere that in darkness and in pain

His feet have trod the world's rough ways.

So unto death itself is given

Strange bliss, when mortal agony

Opens the way that leads on high

And pain is but the path to Heaven.

Thus to a far serener day

Our body from the grave returns;

Eternal life within it burns

That knows nor languor nor decay.

These faces now so pinched and pale,

That marks of lingering sickness show,

Then fairer than the rose shall glow

And bloom with youth that ne'er shall fail.

Ne'er shall crabbed age their beauty dim

With wrinkled brow and tresses grey,

Nor arid leanness eat away

The vigour of the rounded limb.

Racked with his own destroying pains

Shall fell Disease, who now attacks

Our aching frames, his force relax

Fast fettered in a thousand chains:

While from its far celestial throne

The immortal body, victor now,

Shall watch its old tormentor bow

And in eternal tortures groan.

Why do the clamorous mourners wail

In bootless sorrow murmuring?

And why doth grief unreasoning

God's righteous ordinance assail?

Hushed be your voices, ye that mourn;

Ye weeping mothers, dry the tear;

Let none lament for children dear,

For man through Death to Life is born.

So do dry seeds grow green again,

Now dead and buried in the earth,

And rising to a second birth

Clothe as of old the verdant plain.

Take now, O earth, the load we bear,

And cherish in thy gentle breast

This mortal frame we lay to rest,

The poor remains that were so fair.

For they were once the soul's abode,

That by God's breath created came;

And in them, like a living flame,

Christ's precious gift of wisdom glowed.

Guard thou the body we have laid

Within thy care, till He demand

The creature fashioned by His hand

And after His own image made.

The appointed time soon may we see

When God shall all our hopes fulfil,

And thou must render to His will

Unchanged the charge we give to thee.

For though consumed by mould and rust

Man's body slowly fades away,

And years of lingering decay

Leave but a handful of dry dust;

Though wandering winds, that idly fly,

Should his disparted ashes bear

Through all the wide expanse of air,

Man may not perish utterly.

Yet till Thou dost build up again

This mortal structure by Thy hand,

In what far world wilt Thou command

The soul to rest, now free from stain?

In Abraham's bosom it shall dwell

'Mid verdant bowers, as Lazarus lies

Whom Dives sees with longing eyes

From out the far-off fires of hell.

We trust the words our Saviour said

When, victor o'er grim Death, he cried

To him who suffered at His side

"In Mine own footsteps shalt thou tread."

See, open to the faithful soul,

The shining paths of Paradise;

Now may they to that garden rise

Which from mankind the Serpent stole.

Guide him, we pray, to that blest bourn,

Who served Thee truly here below;

May he the bliss of Eden know,

Who strayed in banishment forlorn.

But we will honour our dear dead

With violets and garlands strown,

And o'er the cold and graven stone

Shall fragrant odours still be shed.

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