Thou, too, hast left us. While with heads bowed low,
And sorrowing hearts, we mourned our summer’s dead,
The flying season bent its Parthian bow,
And yet again our mingling tears were shed.
Was Heaven impatient that it could not wait
The blasts of winter for earth’s fruits to fall?
Were angels crowding round the open gate
To greet the spirits coming at their call?
Nay, let not fancies, born of old beliefs,
Play with the heart-beats that are throbbing still,
And waste their outworn phases on the griefs,
The silent griefs that words can only chill.
For thee, dear friend, there needs no high-wrought lay,
To shed its aureole round thy cherished name, —
Thou whose plain, home-born speech of Yea and Nay
Thy truthful nature ever best became.
Death reaches not a spirit such as thine, —
It can but steal the robe that hid thy wings;
Though thy warm breathing presence we resign,
Still in our hearts its loving semblance clings.
Peaceful thy message, yet for struggling right, —
When Slavery’s gauntlet in our face was flung, —
While timid weaklings watched the dubious flight
No herald’s challenge more defiant rung.
Yet was thy spirit tuned to gentle themes
Sought in the haunts thy humble youth had known.
Our stern New England’s hills and vales and streams, —
Thy tuneful idyls made them all their own.