In those sad words I took farewell:
Like echoes in sepulchral halls,
As drop by drop the water falls
In vaults and catacombs, they fell;

And, falling, idly broke the peace
Of hearts that beat from day to day,
Half-conscious of their dying clay,
And those cold crypts where they shall cease.

The high Muse answer’d: `Wherefore grieve
Thy brethren with a fruitless tear?
Abide a little longer here,
And thou shalt take a nobler leave.’

This little stanza is transitional moving away from outbursts of grief towards a more measured reflection on lives and deaths. The high muse, perhaps Urania whom he has mentioned earlier, urges him to remain patiently with grief, so that his farewell to Hallam may be “nobler.”

I know this transition from my own grieving. At first I was grasping at grief and memories, making sudden raids on territory of my relationship with my daughter. But after a while, when the simple fact of her absence became evident, I began to see what questions I wanted to ask and what statements I wanted to make, as I travelled with my loss more companionably.



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