Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE WELCOME HOME, by CAROLINE ANNE BOWLES SOUTHEY



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First Line: Hark! Hark! They're come! Those merry bells
Last Line: We blindly thought -- a foreign tomb!
Alternate Author Name(s): Bowles, Caroline Anne
Subject(s): Homecoming


HARK! hark! they're come! -- those merry bells
That peal their joyous welcome swells;
And many hearts are swelling high,
With more than joy -- with ecstasy!

And many an eye is straining now
Toward that good ship, that sails so slow;
And many a look toward the land
They cast upon that deck who stand.

Flow, flow, ye tides! -- ye languid gales,
Rise, rise, and fill their flagging sails! --
Ye tedious moments, fly, begone,
And speed the blissful meeting on.

Impatient watchers! happy ye,
Whose hope shall soon be certainty;
Happy, thrice happy! soon to strain
Fond hearts to kindred hearts again!

Brothers and sisters -- children -- mother --
All, all restored to one another!
All, all return'd; -- And are there none
To me restored, return'd? -- Not one.

Far other meeting mine must be
With friends long lost -- far other sea
Than thou, O restless ocean! flows
Between us -- one that never knows

Ebb-tide or flood; -- a stagnant sea;
Time's gulf; -- its shore eternity!
No voyager from that shadowy bourne
With chart or sounding may return.

There, there they stand -- the loved! -- the lost!
They beckon from that awful coast! --
They cannot thence return to me,
But I shall go to them. -- I see

E'en now, methinks, those forms so dear,
Bend smiling to invite me there.
O, best beloved! a little while,
And I obey that beckoning smile!

'T is all my comfort now to know
In God's good time it shall be so;
And yet, in that sweet hope's despite
Sad thoughts oppress my heart to-night.

And doth the sight of others' gladness
Oppress the selfish heart with sadness?
Now Heaven forbid! -- but tears will rise --
Unbidden tears -- into mine eyes,

When busy thought contrasts with theirs
My fate, my feelings. Four brief years
Have wing'd their flight, since, where they stand,
I stood, and watch'd that parting band,

(Then parting hence) -- and one, methought,
(O human foresight! set at nought
By God's unfathom'd will!) was borne
From England, never to return! --

With sadden'd heart, I turn'd to seek
Mine own beloved home -- to speak
With her who shared it, of the fears
She also shared in ... It appears

But yesterday that thus we spoke;
And I can see the very look
With which she said, "I do believe
Mine eyes have ta'en their last long leave

Of her who has gone hence to-day!"
Five months succeeding slipp'd away;
And, on the sixth, a deep-toned bell
Swung slow, of recent death to tell;

It toll'd for her, with whom so late
I reason'd of impending fate;
To me those solemn words who spoke
So late, with that remember'd look!

And now, from that same steeple, swells
A joyous peal of merry bells,
Her welcome, whose approaching doom
We blindly thought -- a foreign tomb!





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