by: Edmund Clarence Stedman
- IVE me to
die unwitting of the day,
- And stricken in Life's brave heat, with senses clear:
- Not swathed and couched until the lines appear
- Of Death's wan mask upon this withering clay,
- But as that old man eloquent made way
- From Earth, a nation's conclave hushed anear;
- Or as the chief whose fates, that he may hear
- The victory, one glorious moment stay.
- Or, if not thus, then with no cry in vain,
- No ministrant beside to ward and weep,
- Hand upon helm I would my quittance gain
- In some wild turmoil of the waters deep,
- And sink content into a dreamless sleep
- (Spared grave and shroud) below the ancient main.
MORE POEMS BY EDMUND CLARENCE STEDMAN
"Mors Benefica" is reprinted
from The Little Book of American Poets: 1787-1900. Ed.
Jessie B. Rittenhouse. Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1915.