Concerning Dead Love

WHEN Love is dead, who writes his epitaph?
Who kisses his shut eyes, and says, “Sleep well”?
We do not ring for him a passing bell;
We cover him with flowers of jest and laugh,
The bitter funeral wine in silence quaff,
And with dull heart-beats toll his secret knell.
His grave is ours, and yet with life we strive,
Endure the years, and grind our daily task;
There is no heaven for Love that could not live,
Earth has but mocked us with this beauteous mask.
And when, in agony, our dry lips ask,
“If God deprive us, wherefore did he give?”
There comes some dreadful question from above,
And whispers by the grave, “ Was this poor dead thing Love ? ”
Rose Terry Cooke.