1837–1880

Introduction

Introduction

Born: May 15, 1837, Charles­town, Mas­sa­chu­setts.

Biography

Gunnison’s po­ems ap­peared in Scrib­ner’s Ma­ga­zine, The Chris­tian at Work, & the Dai­ly South­ern Cross.

Publications

Poem

Pass Away

When in darkness and despair,
Bows the heart in wordless prayer;
In the agony of grief,
Vainly seeking for relief;
Doubting, hoping, fear oppressed,
Drifting from the port of rest;
Through the darkness of the night
Catching not one gleam of light;
Be this thought your help and stay;
This shall also pass away.

When in sorrow’s darkest hour,
Shadowed by its awful power;
Vainly groping through life’s blast,
Vainly longing for the past,
Tending forward, glancing back,
Faltering in the onward track,
Sorrowing, fearing, tempest toss’t,
Hope, and life, and love seem lost;
This your comfort—dark the day,
But this, too, shall pass away.

When beside the open tomb,
Shadowed by its deepest gloom;
In the earth’s dark, dreary breast
You have laid your loved to rest;
’Whelmed by sorrow’s wildest waves,
Earth appears a place of graves;
Let this thought your being calm,
On your spirit pour its balm,
Sorrow cannot always stay,
This shall also pass away.

Joy and woe, and grief, and mirth.
Every hope and fear of earth,
Pride and passion, pleasure, pain,
Busy hand and busier brain,
Heart of love and heart of hate,
Heart with well crowned end elate;
High and haughty, low and poor,
Vile in life, and life’s most pure;
All shall vanish like the spray,
For— this, too, shall pass away.

Pass away! and is this all?
Can no better fate befall?
Is the Christian’s hope indeed
Bounded by this world’s poor need?
If so ends life’s ebbing tide,
What avails it that He died?
No! the light from Bethlehem’s star
Still beameth on us from afar;
And the brilliance of its ray
Never more shall pass away.

Pass away! but still remains
Something worthy of life’s pains,
Poet’s lore and statesman’s thought,
All shall fade and come to naught;
Peasant’s cot and noble’s hall
In the general ruin fall:
Still is something to us given,
Mansions of God’s rest in heaven;
And, though earthly things decay,
These shall never pass away.

Pass away! while still remains
He who walked Judea’s plains,
And, on stormy Galilee,
Lulled to rest the troubled sea.
By His agony of prayer!
By His brow, thorn-pierced and bare!
By His anguish in the hour!
By His victory! by His power!!
This we know; in endless day,
Heaven shall never pass away.

Elisha Norman Gunnison
One Sum­mer’s Dream, 1875

Sources

Lyrics

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