Some words to pause amid life’s fleeting pursuits,and reflect beyond the grave.
Sometimes amid the hurry, toil and strife,
The claims, the urgencies, the whirl of life;
The soul, perhaps in silence of the night —
Has flashes — transient intervals of light.
When things to come, without a shade of doubt.
In terrible reality stand out;
These lucid moments suddenly present
A glance of truth, as tho’ the heavens were rent;
And thro’ the chasm of pure celestial light,
The future breaks upon the startled sight:
Life’s vain pursuits, and Time’s advancing pace,
Appear with death-bed clearness face to face;
And immortality’s expanse sublime,
In just proportion to the speck of time:
While Death, uprising from the silent shades,
Shows his dark outline ere the vision fades;
In strong relief against the blazing sky,
Appears the shadow as it passes by;
And though o’erwhelming to the dazzled brain,
These are the moments when the mind is sane:
For then a hope of heaven, a Saviour’s Cross,
Seem what they are, and all things else but loss.
Oh! to be ready — ready for that day.
Would we not give earth’s fairest toys away?
Alas! how soon its interests cloud the view.
Rush in, and plunge us in the world anew.
– Jane Taylor, The Invalid’s Hymn Book (ed. Harriet Kierman, 1854), xxxvi.