The Last Prayer

written by William Wilfred Campbell

The Last Prayer

— William Wilfred Campbell

MASTER of life, the day is done;
My sun of life is sinking low;
I watch the hours slip one by one
And hark the night-wind and the snow.

And must Thou shut the morning out,
And dim the eye that loved to see;
Silence the melody and rout,
And seal the joys of earth for me?

And must Thou banish all the hope,
The large horizon's eagle-swim,
The splendour of the far-off slope
That ran about the world's great rim,

That rose with morning's crimson rays
And grew to noonday's gloried dome,
Melting to even's purple haze
When all the hopes of earth went home?

Yea, Master of this ruined house,
The mortgage closed, outruns the lease;
Long since is hushed the gay carouse,
And now the windowed lights must cease.

The doors all barred, the shutters up,
Dismantled, empty, wall and floor,
And now for one grim eve to sup
With Death, the bailiff, at the door.

Yea, I will take the gloomward road
Where fast the Arctic nights set in,
To reach the bourne of that abode
Which Thou hast kept for all my kin.

And all life's splendid joys forego,
Walled in with night and senseless stone,
If at the last my heart might know
Through all the dark one joy alone.

Yea, Thou mayst quench the latest spark
Of life's weird day's expectancy,
Roll down the thunders of the dark
And close the light of life for me;

Melt all the splendid blue above
And let these magic wonders die,
If Thou wilt only leave me, Love,
And Love's heart-brother, Memory.

Though all the hopes of every race
Crumbled in one red crucible,
And melted, mingled into space,
Yet, Master, Thou wert merciful.

About the poet

William Wilfred Campbell

William Wilfred Campbell was born 15 June 1860 in Newmarket, Upper Canada (present-day Ontario). There is some doubt as to the date and place of his birth. His father, Rev. Thomas Swainston Campbell, was an Anglican clergyman who had been assigned the task of setting up several frontier parishes in "Canada West", as Ontario was then called. Consequently, the family moved frequently. In 1871, the Campbells settled in Wiarton, Ontario, where Wilfred grew up, attending high school in nearby Owen Sound. The school later be renamed Owen Sound Collegiate and Vocational Institute). Campbell would look back on his childhood with fondness. Campbell taught in Wiarton before enrolling in the University of Toronto's University College in 1880, Wycliffe College in 1882, and at the Episcopal Theological...

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