This is the first time in my life that the short days have drawn in shorter and shorter and that I have found myself alone, having to make up my mind that being alone is my future, that my time is at my own disposal, and that I am to live so always, except for occasional visitors, who will grow fewer as time goes on.

It is not sad to turn the face towards home, Even though it shows the journey nearly done; It is not sad to mark the westering sun Even though we know the night doth come.

I do not dread loneliness in itself; but those who live with one, if they are kind and just, do take their share of the burden of life, and it is hard to have no one to whom one can go with those numberless little things which are often big things in life's routine, and that one hides away from those who come in from the outside world as guests, be they ever so near and dear. It is best to keep oneself continually occupied, and one realises that though the end cannot be so very far off, yet the natural love of life is very strong indeed and an immense help. In a little volume of poems called 'Ionica,' very well known to a few, but which I believe has not spread to a large public, there are two poems which I think strike singularly sympathetic notes. The four lines of 'Remember,' do they not come home to one with all the tenderness of a message?

You come not, as aforetime, to the headstone every day, And I, who died, I do not chide because, my friend, you play; Only, in playing, think of him who once was kind and dear, And, if you see a beauteous thing, just say,'He is not here.'

I reverse the position of these poems in the volume, this short one being at the very end, and the following almost in the beginning. I wonder if those who don't know them will like them as much as I do:

You promise heavens free from strife Pure truth, and perfect change of will; But sweet, sweet is this human life -So sweet I fain would breathe it still; Your chilly stars I can forego, This warm kind world is all I know.

You say there is no substance here One great reality above; Back from that void I shrink in fear, And child-like hide myself in love; Show me what angels feel. Till then I cling, a mere weak man, to men.

You bid me lift my mean desires From faltering lips and fitful veins, To sexless souls, ideal quires, Unwearied voices, wordless strains; My mind with fonder welcome owns One dear dead friend's remembered tones.

Forsooth, the present we must give To that which cannot pass away;

All beauteous things for which we live By laws of time and space decay.

But oh, the very reason why I clasp them is because they die.

Great grief, like great joy, has a right to be selfish - for a time, at any rate. Everyone recognises this, and in fact wishes to minister to it so long as the selfishness does not extend, as it were, to the grief itself or to a feeling of rebellion against the inevitable, which tends to hardness and paralyses the sympathy of friends and relations. 'To the old sorrow is sorrow, to the young it is despair.' We must not forget this. The highest ideal of how to receive grief with dignity is admirably expressed in this sonnet by Mr. Aubrey de Vere, though the moral reaches almost unattainable heights:

Count each affliction, whether light or grave God's messenger sent down to thee; do thou With courtesy receive him; rise and bow And, ere his footsteps cross thy threshold, crave Permission first his heavenly feet to lave.

Then lay before him all thou hast, allow No cloud of passion to usurp thy brow Or mar thy hospitality; no wave Of mortal tumult to obliterate The soul's marmoreal calmness. Grief should be Like joy, majestic, equable, sedate, Conforming, cleansing, raising, making free Strong to control small troubles, to command Great thoughts, grave thoughts, thoughts lasting to the end.