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Funeral Poetry and Quotations (2)

 Experienced Funeral Celebrant Graduates of the International College of Celebrancy choose their favourite funeral poems and quotations.

DIRGE WITHOUT MUSIC by Edna St Vincent Millay

I am not resigned to the shutting always
of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely.
Crowned with lilies and with laurel they go;
but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains, - but the best is lost.

The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love, -
They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses.
Elegant and curled Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom.
I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes
than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave,
I know.
But I do not approve.
And I am not resigned.


Fidele's Dirge - William Shakespeare (from Cymbeline)

Fear no more the heat o' the sun,
Nor the furious winter's rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages:
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.

Fear no more the frown o' the great,
Thou art past the tyrant's stroke;
Care no more to clothe and eat;
To thee the reed is as the oak:
The scepte, learning, physic, must
All follow this, and come to dust.

Fear no more the lightning-flash,
Nor the all-dreaded thunder-stone;
Fear not slander, censure rash;
Thou hast finished joy and moan:
All lovers young, all lovers must,
Consign to thee, and come to dust.


The Tempest - revels are ended - William Shakespeare

“Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yes, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And like the insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.”


   Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Bit by bit, nevertheless,
it comes over us
that we shall never again
hear the laughter of our friend,
that this one garden
is forever locked against us. 

And at that moment
begins our true mourning. 
For nothing, in truth,
can replace that companion. 

Old friends cannot be created out of hand. 
Nothing can match
the treasure of common memories,
of trials endured together,
of quarrels and reconciliations
and generous emotions.  

It is idle,
having planted an acorn in the morning,
to expect, in that very afternoon
to sit in the shade of the oak.”