One writes, that `Other friends remain,'
      That `Loss is common to the race' —
      And common is the commonplace,
And vacant chaff well meant for grain.

That loss is common would not make
      My own less bitter, rather more:
      Too common! Never morning wore
To evening, but some heart did break.

O father, wheresoe'er thou be,
      Who pledgest now thy gallant son;
      A shot, ere half thy draught be done,
Hath still'd the life that beat from thee.

O mother, praying God will save
      Thy sailor, — while thy head is bow'd,
      His heavy-shotted hammock-shroud
Drops in his vast and wandering grave.

Ye know no more than I who wrought
      At that last hour to please him well;
      Who mused on all I had to tell,
And something written, something thought;

Expecting still his advent home;
      And ever met him on his way
      With wishes, thinking, "here to-day,"
Or "here to-morrow will he come."

O somewhere, meek, unconscious dove,
      That sittest ranging golden hair;
      And glad to find thyself so fair,
Poor child, that waitest for thy love!

For now her father's chimney glows
      In expectation of a guest;
      And thinking "this will please him best,"
She takes a riband or a rose;

For he will see them on to-night;
      And with the thought her colour burns;
      And, having left the glass, she turns
Once more to set a ringlet right;

And, even when she turn'd, the curse
      Had fallen, and her future Lord
      Was drown'd in passing thro' the ford,
Or kill'd in falling from his horse.

O what to her shall be the end?
      And what to me remains of good?
      To her, perpetual maidenhood,
And unto me no second friend.

Last modified 12 February 2010