THE crimson sunset faded into gray;
Upon the murmurous sea the twilight fell;
The last warm breath of the delicious day
Passed with a mute farewell.
Above my head in the soft purple sky
A wild note sounded like a shrill-voiced bell;
Three gulls met, wheeled, and parted with a cry
That seemed to say, “ Farewell! ”
I watched them: one sailed east, and one soared west,
And one went floating south; while like a knell
That mournful cry the empty sky possessed,
“ Farewell, farewell, farewell! ”
“ Farewell! ” I thought, It is the earth’s one speech:
All human voices the sad chorus swell:
Though mighty Love to heaven’s high gate may reach,
Yet must he say, “ Farewell! ”
The rolling world is girdled with the sound,
Perpetually breathed from all who dwell
Upon its bosom, for no place is found
Where is not heard, “ Farewell! ”
“ Farewell, farewell,” — from wave to wave’t is tossed,
From wind to wind: earth has one tale to tell:
All other sounds are dulled and drowned and lost
In this one cry, “ Farewell! ”
Celia Thaxter.