For my students (you know who you are).
“On His Deceased Wife” by John Milton
Methought I saw my late espousèd Saint
Brought to me like Alcestis from the grave,
Whom Joves great Son to her glad Husband gave,
Rescu’d from death by force though pale and faint.
Mine as whom washt from spot of child-bed taint,
Purification in the old Law did save,
And such, as yet once more I trust to have
Full sight of her in Heaven without restraint,
Came vested all in white, pure as her mind:
Her face was vail’d, yet to my fancied sight,
Love, sweetness, goodness, in her person shin’d
So clear, as in no face with more delight.
But O as to embrace me she enclin’d
I wak’d, she fled, and day brought back my night.
— John Milton
“GOOD FREND FOR JESVS SAKE FORBEARE,
TO DIGG THE DVST ENCLOASED HEARE!
BLESTE BE YE MAN YT SPARES THES STONES,
AND CVRST BE HE YT MOVES MY BONES”
“Here the Whole World” by C.S. Lewis
(epitaph for his wife, Joy Davidman Gresham Lewis)
Here the whole world (stars, water, air,
And field, and forest, as they were
Reflected in a single mind)
Like cast off clothes was left behind
In ashes, yet with hopes that she,
Re-born from holy poverty,
In lenten lands, hereafter may
Resume them on her Easter Day.
When my students and I get together we discuss morbid things…