The St. Gaudens Monument at Rock Creek Cemetery

[IT is told of the founder of one of the Sufi sects in Western Asia that, hearing of the great beauty of a certain lady, he sought her in marriage and promised her parents to build a beautiful house for her. The request was granted and the house built. The bride was brought into it veiled, according to custom. When the veil was removed, the bridegroom saw before him, not the bride, but the angel Azrael. He fell at the angel’s feet, crying, ‘Have mercy!’ And the angel answered, ‘I am Mercy.’]

Son of man, behold I take from thee the desire of thine eyes at a strokeyet shalt thou neither mourn nor weepneither shall thy tears run down.’ So spake I unto the people in the morning: and in the evening my wife died. — EZEKIEL, 24, 16.

I built my love a temple and a shrine,
And every stone of it, a loving thought:
And far and wide, and high and low I sought
For sweetest fancies on the walls to twine
And deeds of gold and words that purest shine
And strength of marble faithfulness enwrought
With love’s enchantments. — Lady, dearly bought
Nor lightly fashioned was that house of thine.
Who came to dwell within it? Not the face
I dreamed of— not the dear familiar eyes,
The kind, the soft, the intimately sweet.
Dread presence — great and merciful and wise —
All humbly I draw near thy dwelling place
And lay the vacant crown before thy feet.
O steadfast, deep, inexorable eyes,
Set look inscrutable, nor smile nor frown —
O tranquil eyes that look so calmly down
Upon a world of passion and of lies! For not with our poor wisdom are you wise,
Nor are you moved with passion such as ours,
Who, face to face, with those immortal powers
That move and reign above the stainless skies,
As friend with friend, have held communion —
Yet have you known the stress of human years,
O calm, unchanging eyes, and once have shone
With these our fitful fires, that burn and cease —
With light of human passion, human tears; —
And know that, after all, the end is peace.