Thought of thy fate in the distant west,
Dying with none that loved thee near;
They who flung the earth on thy breast
Turned from the spot williout a tear.
There, I think, on that lonely grave,
Violets spring in the soft May shower;
There, in the summer breezes, wave
Crimson phlox and moccasin flower.
There the turtles alight, and there
Feeds with her fawn the timid doe;
There, when the winter woods are bare,
Walks the wolf on the crackling snow.
Soon wilt thou wipe my tears away;
All my task upon earth is done;
My poor father, old and gray,
Slumbers beneath the churchyard stone.
In the dreams of my lonely bed,
Ever thy form before me seems;
All night long I talk with the dead,
All day long I think of my dreams.
This deep wound that bleeds and aches,
This long pain, a sleepless pain—
When the Father my spirit takes,
I shall feel it no more again.
My friend, thou sorrowest for thy golden prime,
For thy fair youthful years too swift of flight;
Thou musest, with wet eyes, upon the time
Of cheerful hopes that filled the world with light,—
Years when thy heart was bold, thy hand was strong,
And quick the thought that moved thy tongue to speak,
And willing faith was thine, and scorn of wrong
Summoned the sudden crimson to thy cheek.
Thou lookest forward on the coming days,
Shuddering to feel their shadow o’er thee creep;
A path, thick-set with changes and decays,
Slopes downward to the place of common sleep;
And they who walked with thee in life’s first stage,
Leave one by one thy side, and, waiting near,
Thou seest the sad companions of thy age—
Dull love of rest, and weariness and fear.
Yet grieve thou not, nor think thy youth is gone,
Nor deem that glorious season e’er could die.
Thy pleasant youth, a little while withdrawn,
Waits on the horizon of a brighter sky;
Waits, like the morn, that folds her wing and hides,
Till the slow stars bring back her dawning hour;
Waits, like the vanished spring, that slumbering bides
Her own sweet time to waken bud and flower.
There shall he welcome thee, when thou shalt stand
On his bright morning hills, with smiles more sweet
Than when at first he took thee by the hand,
Through the fair earth to lead thy tender feet.
He shall bring back, but brighter, broader still,
Life’s early glory to thine eyes again,
Shall clothe thy spirit with new strength, and fill
Thy leaping heart with warmer love than then.
Hast thou not glimpses, in the twilight here,
Of mountains where immortal morn prevails?
Comes there not, through the silence, to thine ear
A gentle rustling of the morning gales;
A murmur, wafted from that glorious shore,
Of streams that water banks for ever fair,
And voices of the loved ones gone before,
More musical in that celestial air?