My friend has left me, he has gone away;
Before his time-so long before-he went.
Bright was the dawn of his unended day;
But love might not, yea, nothing might prevent
The hand of death from striking. Oh fair Art!
First mistress of his intellect and heart,
Of this our common sorrow bear thy part,
Bow down and weep now for the words I say.
His lips are mute, and stilled is the great brain,
The strong heart beats no more, the strife is done;
So near the goal, he reached it without pain,
We crowned him, then he went beyond the sun.
But though he has gone out from us, his name
Shall lessen not with time, and his young fame
Shall burn for ever, an enduring flame,
A stedfast light that may not wax or wane.
Lo, this first work whereby we bowed to him,
Calling him master, though he was so young,
Shall intervening centuries make dim?
Those sea-tossed lovers who together clung
What time they had for common enemies
The blasting tropic suns, and treacherous seas,
And torture of long thirst they might not ease,
Till hearts began to fail, and brains to swim.
The years which might have been I seem to see;
I know the great work ended, and I hear
Rumours of storms and voice of waves that flee;
I breathe a fierce and fervid atmosphere.
I see strong warriors meet, and armed for war,
I see each helmet shining like a star,
I hear the shock of weapons near and far,
And in the densest of the strife is he.
My friend, my friend, he strikes with confident hand,
I hear the blows ring on opposing shields,
And none I know his prowess may withstand;
I know the shield he bears, the sword he wields;
Before his strength I see his foes give place,
And in my heart I see a spectre race
Look with glad eyes upon his lifted face,
They who inhabit now the flowerless land.
Defoe and Richardson and Scott, and those
Two sisters whose fair names shine ever clear,
Charlotte, and patient Emily who chose
To take a path where none might follow her;
Like him she left one work for monument,
And songs that keep the keen sweet heather-scent,
And like him too before her time she went,
To be where quiet is and deep repose.
Oh friend and brother, if this thing might be,
That souls live after death, the great elect
Should throng the portals to give hail to thee;
And they thy wandering footsteps should direct,
Should take thee where the fairest gardens glow,
Should take thee where the deepest rivers flow;
Should point thee o’er the faces thou shouldst know,
And linger with thee by the jasper sea.
But perfect rest is now thy heritage,
And though the labour of thy hand and brain
Had made thy life triumphant, none engage
To point the world new paths without the strain
Of long and arduous fighting. Oh my friend,
Not thine, our loss this unimagined end.
Life is not sweet, but sharp with thorns that rend;
And the soul’s thirst, what springs in life assuage?
Fame is not always good,-remember this,
All ye with whom I mourn-who mourn with me;
Nor is love always a sure path to bliss,
And time works many changes sad to see.
And ‘twixt the dearest friends estrangements rise,
Across wide gulfs they look with longing eyes;
But they have done with questions and replies,
And sad and very hard to bear this is.
London I never loved for London’s sake,
Her crowds oppressed me more than solitude;
But some far music his fine ear could take,
Mine failed to catch; yea, since he found her good,
Loved the strong ebb and flow of fluctuant life,
The night’s uneasy calm, the day’s loud strife,
Found all her ancient streets with memories rife,
Shall I not love her too, asleep, awake?
Oh friend, my friend, there is so much to tell
Since that September night we met on last,
Dreams have passed by and hopes have said farewell.
Oh love that lives, and life that soon is past!
From where he is he may not make reply,
Too far away he is to hear my cry,
Love weeps for us, for him love may not sigh,
And grief saith but one word irreparable.
We talked about our future many times,
Planned work together, jested, and were grave,
And now he will not listen to my rhymes.
My sorrow breaks above me in one wave,
For he has left me, he has gone away
To lands that do not know the night from day,
Where men toil not, neither give thanks nor pray,
Where come no rumours from the sounding chimes.
Oh men and women, listen and be wise,
Refrain from love and friendship, dwell alone,
Having for friends and loves the seas, the skies,
And the fair land, for these are still your own.
The sun is yours, the moon and stars are yours,
For you the great sea changes and endures,
And every year the spring returns, and lures:
I pray you only love what never dies.
For life hath taught me with much diligence
That bitterest sorrow springs from things most fair:
Remorseless death that calls those loved ones hence
Who living gave us strength our cross to bear,
The failure of high purposes, the death
Of fairest inspiration, the quick breath,
The ebbing light, and the last words one saith,
The dust and sleep and death for recompense.
I know it was of his a favourite creed
That when the body dies the existing soul
Of other souls becomes a fruitful seed,
Changing, existing through the years that roll;
Flashing continually from state to state,
Not ceasing with the lives that terminate,
A part of life, of destiny, of fate,
The germ and the fulfilment, thought and deed.
Here, where I stumbled, he walked sure of foot;
And here more clear than mine his spirit’s sight;
His high thought sprang from no uncertain root;
His intellect was like the broad noon-light;
He stemmed the tide of passion strong and deep,
He walked most confidently up paths most steep,
And by the way he loved he fell asleep,
And of his life we gather now the fruit.
I clasp another sorrow in my soul,
I take another memory to keep,
To love and cherish while the seasons roll,
To think of while I wake or fall asleep.
The weary winter-time shall pass, and spring,
The patient earth at last revisiting,
With soft and flowerlike skies, and birds that sing,
Shall come most hearts to gladden and make whole.
But mine she shall not gladden; I for one
By all her sweets will not be comforted.
The summer days shall come with stress of sun,
The placid light of summer stars be shed;
With dew at eve the roses shall be sated
And all the earth by slumber softly weighted;
But love shall keep its sorrow unabated
Till all the fears and pains of life be done.
And now I bring to sweeten thy repose
All rarest odours wed to delicate tints,
Chrysanthemums, and violets, and rose,
With laurel leaves, and the wild hyacinths;
And I have kissed the flowers and bade them be
My messengers of love to speak for me,
The last, last gift that I shall give to thee,
Unwitting now of any flower that blows.
Alas! what can be said? What can we do?
Ah me! we have no words,-we can but wait,-
Wait and remember where the years wear through.
Life is at longest but a brief estate;
As a flower of the field, the Psalmist saith,
It blooms and the fashion of it perisheth;
We cannot tell when we may chance on death,
To be resolved into the light, the dew.
Oh friends! who sit together well content,
Throwing your personal news out pleasantly,
Or meeting hotly in some argument,
Or interchanging deepest sympathy,
Prize well the precious moments, for indeed
You cannot tell when you may sorely need
The friendly talk and counsel. Take good heed
Your lips let through no word they might repent.
Sleep well, my friend, the sleep that no dreams break,
I too some day of sleep shall take my fill;
But now I live, and work for mere work’s sake,
Missing the strength of thy controlling will.
I know my soul through all shall thirst and fret
For thee, for thee whom time may not forget;
And when I see dear friends together met,
I know my heart will fail in me and ache.
(Philip Bourke Marston)
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Based on Keywords: unabated, winter-time, terminate, densest, fluctuant, perisheth, flowerlike, irreparable, richardson, revisiting, defoe