Thou inevitable day,
When a voice to me shall say–
‘Thou must rise and come away;
All thine other journeys past,
Gird thee, and make ready fast
For thy longest and thy last’–
Day deep-hidden from our sight
In impenetrable night,
Who may guess of thee aright?
Art thou distant, art thou near?
Wilt thou seem more dark or clear?
Day with more of hope or fear?
Wilt thou come, unseen before
Thou art standing at the door,
Saying, light and life are o’er?
Or with such a gradual pace,
As shall leave me largest space
To regard thee face to face?
Shall I lay my drooping head
ON some loved lap, round my bed
Prayer be made and tears be shed?
Or at distance from mine own,
Name and kin alike unknown,
Make my solitary moan?
Will there yet be things to leave,
Hearts to which this heart must cleave,
From which parting it must grieve?
Or shall life’s best ties be o’er,
And all loved ones gone before
To that other happier shore?
Shall I gently fall on sleep,
Death, like slumber, o’er me creep,
Like a slumber sweet and deep?
Or the soul long strive in vain,
To escape, with toil and pain,
From its half-divided chain?
Little skills it where or how,
If thou comest then or now,
With a smooth or angry brow;
Come thou must, and we must die–
Jesus, Saviour, stand Thou by,
When that last sleep seals our eye.