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A simple print from hand of high renown
Upon my low bed's head looks kindly down;
--The patriarch Joseph, foster-father mild
Of Nazareth's Virgin Mother's heavenly Child,
His dying head pressed close against his knee
Of the Incarnate Son and Deity;--
The Virgin Mother kneeling gently near
Dissolved in prayer, on that mild cheek a tear;--
Thus has the Christian Master's pious mind,
Great Overbeck, the "Just man's" death designed.


The Picture, breathing all the holy peace
Of souls which find in death, from death, release,
Thus placed, a wish long cherished found expression--
When I shall come to my death-bed confession;
When faithful priest shall that last unction give
Which bids these lapsing, dying senses live
On God's own day of happy resurrection,
As long tried vessels of most sweet election;
When on my parched, enfeebled tongue shall lie
Jesus, himself, in loving mystery;
Then may three friends, in fair, celestial state,
Unseen, around my bed benignly wait;
Thus shall I win, while yielding up my breath,
Life's last and crowning grace, a happy death.


O Jesus, Mary, Joseph! thus I sigh
Each night as 'neath that picture's wing I lie;
O Jesus, Mary, Joseph! me befriend
When this so troubled life begins to end;
O Jesus, Mary, Joseph! with you near
Death's dreaded spectres all will disappear;
And though no friend may come with pious care
To wipe the death-sweat, lift the last sweet prayer,
Contentedly, serenely, I can die
In your most dear and holy company.