There Is No Death

Original Text: 

Burton E. Stevenson, Famous Single Poems and the Controversies Which Have Raged Around Them (London: George G. Harrap, 1924): 11-12. First published in Arthur's Home Journal, 22 (Philadelphia, July 1863): 41.

1There is no death! The stars go down
2   To rise upon some other shore,
3And bright in heaven's jeweled crown
4   They shine for evermore.
5There is no death! The dust we tread
6   Shall change beneath the summer showers
7To golden grain or mellow fruit
8   Or rainbow-tinted flowers.
9The granite rocks disorganize
10   To feed the hungry moss they bear;
11The forest leaves drink daily life
12   From out the viewless air.
13There is no death! The leaves may fall,
14   And flowers may fade and pass away --
15They only wait, through wintry hours,
16   The coming of the May.
17There is no death! An angel form
18   Walks o’er the earth with silent tread;
19He bears our best-loved things away,
20   And then we call them “dead.”
21He leaves our hearts all desolate --
22   He plucks our fairest, sweetest flowers;
23Transplanted into bliss, they now
24   Adorn immortal bowers.
25The bird-like voice, whose joyous tones
26   Made glad this scene of sin and strife,
27Sings now an everlasting song
28   Amid the tree of life.
29Where’er He sees a smile too bright,
30   Or soul too pure for taint of vice,
31He bears it to that world of light,
32   To dwell in Paradise.
33Born unto that undying life,
34   They leave us but to come again;
35With joy we welcome them -- the same
36   Except in sin and pain.
37And ever near us, though unseen,
38   The dear immortal spirits tread;
39For all the boundless universe
40   Is Life -- there is no dead!
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: