Death is Nothing at All
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Death is Nothing at All (A Poem by Henry Scott-Holland)

Death is nothing at all is six stanzas long, divided into varying lengths. The final stanza is the most out of the ordinary. It is expanded into two more phrase-like sentences at the end of the poem.

Death is Nothing at All

Death is Nothing at All

In order to make the poem and its message more personal, the poet has chosen to have his main character speak in the first person, omniscient narrative perspective.

The viewpoint allows the reader to get a better understanding of the speaker’s situation. Perhaps it will also enable the reader to apply the poet’s words to their own lives.

Continue reading this article to get a good analysis of this classic poem by Henry Scott-Holland and get ready to be amazed.

Death Is Nothing At All

Death is nothing at all.
It does not count.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Nothing has happened.

Everything remains exactly as it was.
I am I, and you are you,
and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.

Call me by the old familiar name.
Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was.
There is absolute and unbroken continuity.
What is this death but a negligible accident?

Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you, for an interval,
somewhere very near,
just round the corner.

All is well.
Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

by Henry Scott-Holland 

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Summary

The speaker begins the poem by stating that death is meaningless. It creates no genuine separation between the deceased and those left behind.

The speaker is clearly dead, and he is using this poem to tell one specific person who is missing him that she/he should not be. They are still the same to each other as they were before.

Nothing in their relationship or the memories they shared has changed.

The speaker concludes the poem by telling his listener that when the time comes, he will be waiting for her/him on the other side, where they will be with Christ. Everyone will be happier and at peace as a result.

Analysis of Deaths Nothing at All

Stanza One 

Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away to the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other, 
That, we still are.

The speaker begins the poem by repeating the line that became the title, “Death is nothing at all.” This repetition emphasizes that this mantra is not something to be said and then forgotten, but rather a much larger theme that will be present throughout the poem.

As a reader, it is critical to returning to this line as one progresses through the stanzas.

The speaker describes how “death” has had no effect on his relationship with an unknown, unnamed person in the first lines of the first stanza.

This person is never described more than as a significant figure in the speaker’s life. The reader is taken aback by the second line, which reveals that the speaker has died rather than the listener.

The speaker claims that he has not moved far, only into the “next room,” and that their relationship has not changed. They are still the same people who mean the same things to each other.

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Stanza Two

Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way
which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

The speaker’s claim that nothing has changed between the two is continued in the second stanza. He requests that his audience “call [him] by [his] old familiar name.”

He does not want to be treated or thought of differently because he is no longer alive. Furthermore, he wishes for everyone, particularly this person who means so much to him, to speak “in an easy way.”

There should be nothing unusual or stressful about the way they communicate now. His audience may be moved to “solemnity” or “sorrow,” but he does not want this to be the case.

Death is Nothing at All

Stanza Three

Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect.
Without the trace of a shadow on it.

The third stanza is used by the speaker to remind his listener of all the good times they’ve shared in the past. He wants him/her to remember when “we always laughed” and what “little jokes” they shared.

This speaker’s perspective on death is everything but dismal. He regards it as a simple shift from one location to another that should have no effect on the environment he shares with his listener.

He requests that he be prayed for and that his name “be ever” a household word. There should be no difference in the way the listener talks about him to others.

Stanza Four

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
There is absolute unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight? 

By the sixth stanza, it is apparent that the speaker is certain of his ideas. He starts repeating the same concepts again and over, one on top of the other, in an attempt to ensure that his audience has no question about how he wants to be remembered.

He considers the moment in nature after his death to be an “absolute continuous continuity.” Death has no significance for him, and no one should notice when he dies.

Any change in the world without him appears ludicrous to the speaker. “Why should I be forgotten or driven out of my listener’s mind?” he says. This, he believes, is the incorrect approach to dealing with death.

Stanza Five

I am but waiting for you.
For an interval.
Somewhere. Very near.
Just around the corner.
All is well.

The speaker departs from the repetitious ideas he has been expressing to his audience in the poem’s second to the final verse. He informs her or him that he is “waiting.” He’s someplace nearby, perhaps “just around the corner.”

“All is good,” the voice says on a different line. There is nothing to worry or be unhappy about for his listeners or anybody affected by his demise.

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Stanza Six 

Nothing is past; nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before, only better, infinitely happier, and forever. We will all be one together with Christ.

The final stanza is structured differently than those that came before it. Despite the appearance, the feelings are the same. According to the speaker, nothing in the cosmos is “past” or “lost.”

Everything exists on the same plane, and Christ exists on this plane.

In one more plea to the speaker, and in an attempt to alleviate overall melancholy, he tells everyone that everything will be much better than it is now after a little intermission.

Everyone will be “infinitely happier” and “always together.”

We hope this article on death is nothing at all, has been enlightening, and has put you in a pleasant mood. Please endeavour to share this article with family, friends, and colleagues.

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