When I Am Dead

When I am dead, forget me then,
For then I shall not know,
Though o’er my cold and lifeless hands
Your burning tears might flow:
I’ll cancel with my living voice
The debt you owe the dead;
Give me the love you’d show me then,
But give it now instead.

And bring no wreaths to deck my grave,
For then I shall not care
Though all the flowers I love the most
Might bloom and wither there:
I’ll sell my chance for all the flowers,
They’ll give me when I’m dead
For one small bunch of violets now,
So give me that instead.

What saints are we, when we are gone,
But what’s the use to me,
Of praises then upon my tomb,
For other eyes to see:
One little word of kindly praise
By lips we love most said
Is worth a hundred epitaphs,
So say it now instead.

But thoughts that now are hard to bear,
Oblivion then will win,
Our sins are soon forgotten us,
When we no more can sin:
But any bitter thought of me,
Keep it for when I’m dead,
It shall not matter, I’ll not care,
Forgive me now instead.