“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.” – Campbell.
Dead! No! Thou’rt living yet –
For, while fond memory holds thee thus,
And love we give not to the dead
Is thine, thou still art one of us;
Not dead till we forget.
Living, but far away;
Distance divides our hearts from thee –
But Time shall bring thee here again,
And brighter than all dreams shall be
That one glad meeting day.
Alas! not so thou’rt dead!
For it was sadly dear to me
To think thy spirit might be near;
From earth’s restraining bands set free,
Yet here, by memory led.
“Sweet could our hearts be known
Now, by some keener sympathy.”
Such my first thoughts when thou wert gone;
But soon the fancy ceased to be;
We felt thy soul was flown.
Dead? No! thou’rt living yet =
Distant, but we shall meet again,
And heart be read by faithful heart,
When love more closely draws her chain
Round friends for ever met!



Publication:Manchester Examiner

Published in:Manchester

Date:September 22nd 1863

Keywords:death, elegy


Unspecific elegies such as this were not uncommon in the Victorian period but were particularly prevalent in northwest English newspapers during the Cotton Famine. Mortality rates across all working class demographics rose sharply during this time and there was a sensitivity to this reflected in newspaper poetry. This one is interesting in that it uses terms such as ‘spirit’ and ‘soul’ but is otherwise secular in its approach, perhaps in an effort to be more universal in a region with a large proportion of nonconformist faiths which had differing devotional languages. – SR