The Pass of Death

J. Andrews, Printer, 38 Chatham St., N. Y.

The pass of death.

It was a narrow pass,
Water’d with human tears,
For death has kept the outer gate
Almost six thousand years;
And the ceaseless tread of a world’s feet
Was ever in my ears:
Thronging, jostling, hurrying by,
As if they were only born to die.

A stately king drew near,
This narrow pass to tread;
Around him hung a gorgeous robe,
And a crown was on his head.
But death, with a look of withering scorn,
Arrested him, and said:
“In humbler dress must the king draw near,
For the crown and the purple are useless here.”
None

Next came a man of wealth,
And his eye was proud and bold,
And he bore in his hand a lengthy scroll,
Telling of sums untold;
But death, who careth not for rank,
Careth as little for gold;
“Here that scroll I cannot allow,
For the gold of the richest is powerless now.”

Another followed fast,
And a book was in his hand,
Fill’d with the flashes of burning thought
That are known in many a land;
But the child of genius quail’d to hear
Death’s pitiless demand;
“Here that book cannot enter with thee,
For the bright fiash of genius is nothing to me.”

Next came a maiden fair,
With that eye so deeply bright,
That stirs within you strange, sweet care,
Should you meet on a summer night;
But death, ere the gentle maid passed through,
Snatch’d away its light;
“Beauty is power in the world,” he saith,
“But what can it do in the pass of death?”

A youth of sickly mien,
Follow’d in thoughtful mood,
Whose heart was fill’d with love to God
And the early brotherhood;
Death felt he could not quench the heart
That lived for other’s good:
“I own,” cried he, “the power of love;
I must let it pass to the realms above!”

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