At Dawn and Dusk

In Memory of an Actress

Victor James Daley

SAY little: where she lies, so let her rest:
    What cares she now for Fame, and what for Art?
    What for applause? She has played out her part.
Her hands are folded calmly on her breast—
            God knows the best!

She has gone down, as all must go, to where
    The players of the past are lying low—
    Players who played their parts out long ago—
With the life-hue still bright on lips and hair
            And forehead fair.

Cheek’s colour, poise of head, and flash of eye
    Who will remember them when we are dead?
    Whom that is dead have we rememberèd?
The end is one although we smile or sigh—
            We live; we die.

Bitter to some is Death, to some is sweet—
    Sweetest to youth and bitterest to age;
    But simple is the costume for the stage,
The darkened stage of death, and very meet—
            A winding-sheet.

So we may fill our days with grief or mirth,
    Each as he pleases: but what boots it all,
    When on the coffin-lid the cold clods fall,
Though we had been most eloquent on earth
            Or dumb from birth?

So, let her rest who perished in her prime:
    Surely through darkness she shall find the light
    And, though obscured to us in outer night,
Shall play her part yet in a play sublime
            In God’s good time.

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