“ WHAT ship is this comes sailing
Across the harbor bar,
So strange, yet half familiar,
With treasure from afar ?
O comrades, shout, good bells ring out,
Peal loud your merry din!
Oh, joy! At last across the bay
My ship comes sailing in ! ”
Men said in low whispers,
“ It is the passing bell.
At last his toil is ended.”
They prayed, “ God rest him well! ”
“ Ho, captain, my captain !
What store have you on board ? ”
“ A treasure far richer
Than gems or golden hoard ;
The broken promise welded firm,
The long-forgotten kiss;
The love more worth than all on earth,
All joys life seemed to miss.”
The watchers sighed softly,
“ It is the death change.
What vision blest has given
That rapture deep and strange ? ”
“ O captain, dear captain,
What forms are those I see
On deck there beside you ?
They smile and beckon me,
And soft voices call me, —
Those voices sure I know ! ”
“All friends are here that you held dear
In the sweet long ago.”
“ The death smile,” they murmured;
“ It is so passing sweet
We scarce have heart to hide it
Beneath the winding-sheet.”
“ O captain, I know you !
Are you not Christ the Lord ?
With light heart and joyous
I hasten now on board.
Set sail, set sail before the gale,
Our trip will soon be o’er :
To-night we ’ll cast our anchor fast
Beside the heavenly shore.”
Men sighed, “ Lay him gently
Beneath the heavy sod.”
The soul afar beyond the bar
Went sailing on to God.
Alice Williams Brotherton.