A Thought for A Lonely Death-Bed

Virginia Woolf’s Bed. Photograph by Patti Smith, 2003


If God compel thee to this destiny,

To die alone, with none beside thy bed

To ruffle round with sobs thy last word said

And mark with tears the pulses ebb from thee,–

Pray then alone, ‘ O Christ, come tenderly !

By thy forsaken Sonship in the red

Drear wine-press,–by the wilderness out-spread,–

And the lone garden where thine agony

Fell bloody from thy brow,–by all of those

Permitted desolations, comfort mine !

No earthly friend being near me, interpose

No deathly angel ‘twixt my face aud thine,

But stoop Thyself to gather my life’s rose,

And smile away my mortal to Divine ! ‘

Elizabeth Barrett Browning


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