The Unfinished Poem.

Take it, reader—idly passing1
This, like hundred other lines ;2
Take it, critic, great at classing3
Subtle genius’ well-known sign,4
Bat, O reader ! be thou dumb ;5
Critic, let no keen wit come ;6
For the hand that wrote or blurr’d7
Will not write another word,8
And the soul you scorn or prize9
Now than angels is more wise.10
Take it, heart of man or woman,11
This unfinished, broken strain,12
Whether it be poor and common,13
Or the noblest work of brain ;14
Let that reverent heart sole sit15
Here in judgment over it,16
Tenderly, as you would read17
( Any one, of any creed,18
Any churchyard walking by),19
Sacred to the memory.”20
Wholly sacred : even as lingers21
Final word, or light glance cast,22
Or last clasp of life-warm fingers23
That we knew not was the last ;24
Wholly sacred—as we lay,25
The day after funeral day,26
Their dear relics, great or small,27
Who need nothing, yet have all28
All the best of us, that lies29
Hid with them in Paradise ;30
All our highest aspirations,31
And our closest love of loves :32
Our most silent resignations, 33
Our best work that man approves ;34
Yet which jealously we keep35
In our mute soul’s deepest deep.36
So of this imperfect song37
Let no echoes here prolong ;38
For the singer’s voice is known39
In the heaven of heavens alone.40