Where the Pelican Builds
and Other Poems

For Charles Dickens


Mary Hannay Foott

ABOVE our dear Romancer’s dust
    Grief takes the place of praise,
Because of sudden cypress thrust
    Amid the old-earned bays.

Ah! when shall such another friend
    By England’s fireside sit,
To tell her of her faults, yet blend
    Sage words with kindly wit?

He brings no pageants of the past
    To wile our hearts away;
But wins our love for those who cast
    Their lot with ours to-day.

He gives us laughter glad and long;
    He gives us tears as pure;
He shames us with the published wrong
    We meted to the poor.

Through webs and dust and weather-stains,
    His sunlike genius paints,
On life’s transfigured chancel-panes,
    The angels and the saints.

He bade us to a lordly feast,
    And gave us of his best;
And vanished, while the mirth increased,
    To be Another’s guest.

For Death had summoned him, in haste,
    Where hands of the Divine
Pour out, for him who toiled to taste,
    The Paradisal wine.

Well, God be thanked, we did not wait
    His greatness to discern
By funeral lights,—in that Too-Late
    When ashes fill the urn.

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