On the death of a friend

            There was no bell to peal thy funeral dirge,
            No nodding plumes to wave above thy bier,
            No shroud to wrap thee but the foaming surge,
            No kindly voices thy dark way to cheer,
            No eye to give the tribute of a tear.
            Alone, "unknell'd, uncoffin'd," thou hast died,
            Without one gentle mourner lingering near;
            Down the deep waters thou unseen didst glide,
        With Ocean's countless dead to slumber side by side.
            Thou sleep'st not with thy fathers. O'er thy bed,
            The flowers that deck their tombs may never wave;
            To plead remembrance for thee o'er thy head
            No sculptur'd marble shall arise. Thy grave
            Is the dark boundless deep, whose waters lave
            The shores of empires. When thou sought'st thy rest
            Within their silent depths, they only gave
            A circling ripple, then with foaming crest
        The booming waves roll'd over their unconscious guest.
            'Tis said that far beneath the wild waves rushing,
            Where sea-flowers bloom and fabled Peris dwell,
            That there the restless waters cease their gushing,
            And leave their dead within some sparkling cell,
            Where gems are gleaming, and the lone sea shell
            Is breathing its sweet music. And 'tis said
            That Time, who weaveth over Earth a spell
            Of blight and ruin, o'er the Ocean's dead
        He passeth lightly on, with trackless, silent tread.
            Then, though no marble e'er shall rise for thee,
            No monument to mark thy last long home,
            Thine ocean grave unhonored shall not be, --
            The coral insect there shall rear a tomb
            That age shall ne'er destroy; and there shall bloom
            The fadeless ocean flowers. And though the glare
            Of the bright sunbeams ne'er shall light its gloom,
            Yet glancing eyes and forms unearthly fair
        Shall throng around thy couch, and hymn a requiem there.
            Now fare thee well! I will not weep that thou
            Didst pass so soon away; for though thou wert
            Still in thy boyhood's prime, and thy fair brow
            Undimmed by age; yet sad was thy young heart,
            For thou hadst seen the light of life depart,
            And Love had thrown his wild and burning spell
            Around thee, and with deep, insidious art
            Had maddened thee. Then sounded loud the knell
        Of all thy bright young dreams. My earliest friend, farewell!


This work was published before January 1, 1926, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.