Today We Make the Poet's Words Our Own

To-day we make the poet's words our own, 
And utter them in plaintive undertone; 
Nor to the living only be they said, 
But to the other living called the dead, 
Whose dear, paternal images appear 
Not wrapped in gloom, but robed in sunshine here; 
Whose simple lives, complete and without flaw, 
Were part and parcel of great Nature's law; 
Who said not to their Lord, as if afraid, 
"Here is thy talent in a napkin laid," 
But labored in their sphere, as men who live 
In the delight that work alone can give. 
Peace be to them; eternal peace and rest, 
And the fulfilment of the great behest: 
"Ye have been faithful over a few things, 
Over ten cities shall ye reign as kings."

From Morituri Salutamus: Poem for the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Class of 1825 in Bowdoin College; 1875.