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Robert Southey: The Pauper’s Funeral (Poem)

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The Pauper’s Funeral

What! and not one to heave the pious sigh!
Not one whose sorrow-swoln and aching eye
For social scenes, for life’s endearments fled,
Shall drop a tear and dwell upon the dead!
Poor wretched Outcast! I will weep for thee,
And sorrow for forlorn humanity.
Yes I will weep, but not that thou art come
To the stern Sabbath of the silent tomb:
For squalid Want, and the black scorpion Care,
Heart-withering fiends! shall never enter there.
I sorrow for the ills thy life has known
As thro’ the world’s long pilgrimage, alone,
Haunted by Poverty and woe-begone,
Unloved, unfriended, thou didst journey on:
Thy youth in ignorance and labour past,
And thine old age all barrenness and blast!
Hard was thy Fate, which, while it doom’d to woe,
Denied thee wisdom to support the blow;
And robb’d of all its energy thy mind,
Ere yet it cast thee on thy fellow-kind,
Abject of thought, the victim of distress,
To wander in the world’s wide wilderness.

Poor Outcast sleep in peace! the wintry storm
Blows bleak no more on thine unshelter’d form;
Thy woes are past; thou restest in the tomb;–
I pause–and ponder on the days to come.

Robert Southey
(1774 – 1843)
The Pauper’s Funeral

• fleursdumal.nl magazine

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