The Records of Our Dead
By Lula Greene Richards
They sleep! And peaceful is their rest,
And sacred every spot of ground
Upon our common mother’s breast
Wherein their thousand graves are found.
And sacred, too, the resting place
Of some beneath the ocean’s storms, –
For not alone in earth’s embrace
Are pillowed all their precious forms.
What treasured wealth their records show –
Important every name and date.
As thus their lives we learn to know,
What reverence these lives create!
As carefully the leaves we turn,
Search references with eager eyes,
Our sympathies awakened yearn
O’er far removed yet kindred ties.
As back we follow family names,
Still in our generation known,
For former heroes, fancy claims,
Traits which are present heroes own;
Thus all the way we seem to find,
As link by link the chain we trace,
Man’s noble bearing, generous mind,
Or woman’s purity and grace.
For here as at the funeral pall,
The failings mortal weakness brings,
We would not, where we might, recall,
But pass them by for better things.
How bright and clean, how free from sin,
Would we our chronicles have spread,
When other hands shall write them in
The sacred records of the dead.
All this – and this is but a part, –
As Malachi of old discerned,
Elijah came, and heart to heart
Fathers and children have been turned.
And now, in temples of the Lord
Vicarious work the Saints pursue,
And still in other books record
The saving covenant anew.