Thomas Hood (1798-1845)



There is a silence where hath been no sound,
There is a silence where no sound may be,
  In the cold grave—under the deep, deep sea,
Or in wide desert where no life is found,
Which hath been mute, and still must sleep profound;
  No voice is hush'd—no life treads silently,
  But clouds and cloudy shadows wander free,
That never spoke, over the idle ground:
But in green ruins, in the desolate walls
  Of antique palaces, where Man hath been,
Though the dun fox or wild hyaena calls,
  And owls, that flit continually between,
Shriek to the echo, and the low winds moan—
There the true Silence is, self-conscious and alone.


It is not death, that sometime in a sigh
  This eloquent breath shall take its speechless flight;
That sometime these bright stars, that now reply
  In sunlight to the sun, shall set in night;
  That this warm conscious flesh shall perish quite,
And all life's ruddy springs forget to flow;
  That thoughts shall cease, and the immortal sprite
Be lapp'd in alien clay and laid below;
It is not death to know this—but to know
  That pious thoughts, which visit at new graves
In tender pilgrimage, will cease to go
  So duly and so oft—and when grass waves
Over the pass'd-away, there may be then
No resurrection in the minds of men.

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