Lines on the Death of a Brother

Sir Cuthbert Sharp, ‘Lines on the Death of a Brother’ from Poems on a Variety of Subjects (Sunderland: The Author, 1828), pp.25-27.


O Death! thou universal monster, and

Destroyer of domestic peace! why didst thou

Dart thine arrow at a virtuous youth

Just dawning in the morn of manhood? Why

Didst thou hurry him to thy dread regions,

To dwell forgotten in that darksome cell?

Forgot by’all, except the tender feelings

Of a parent’s heart, and a brother’s fond

Regard. Why, unsparing archer, didst thou

Not shoot thine arrows in the field, where

Human tyrants reign, and ease some slave of

His oppressive load? Alas! these are the

Questions of a tortured mind. If

Nature asks her just demand, there’s none dare

Her deny: who knows but ’tis the mild decree

Of heaven that some bright angel with his

Golden wings, from heaven’s imperial

Court, on errand sent, to waft him to the

Sunny shores of immortality and bliss,

To tune a golden harp in rosy bow’rs,

And walk by silver streams, to drink the pure

Fountain of unmingled joy. If such his

Glorious exit from this world of woe,

Let’s dry our weeping eyes, nor longer let

Them roll with melancholy glare; but let

Us bend the humble knee, in prayer, in

Adoration, and in gratitude, to

God. But keen reflection rushes on my

Mind; the joys of happy days that’s gone, when

We went hand in hand to school, with two green

Satchels, full of sportive play and native

Innocence, roving on the rural banks

Of happiness; we thought that death would never

Come,—such is delusion‘s magic power.

No more he’ll rise at morn, to view the lark

Mount high the scented air to greet the rising

Sun. For now he slumbers in the dark abode

Of death; there no gleam of light can enter;

But one still night of unmolested

Sleep, till time shall be no more. You moon,

Enwrapp’d in murky clouds, at intervals

Throws back her darken’d robes, and smiles upon

His peaceful grave. And when Aurora opes

The gates of day, the binding weeds, waved

By the morn’s chill breeze, shake off their dewy

Tears upon his green spread mound; whilst I, the

Object of despair and sorrow, will wail

At midnight when all nature rests. O John!

I bid thee now adieu, thy weary soul

Has found a home; but I must wander still,

In this drear world, to bear the bleak winds of

Sorrow, care, and pain, till, nipt by the cold

Hand of death, I die—I sleep, and mingle

With thy dust.