Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, EDWIN BUCKINGHAM, by CHARLES SPRAGUE

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

EDWIN BUCKINGHAM, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Spare him one little week, almighty power
Last Line: And scatter fragrance round his ocean-tomb.
Subject(s): Death; Dead, The

SPARE him one little week, Almighty Power!
Yield to his father's house his dying hour;
Once more, once more let them, who held him dear,
But see his face, his faltering voice but hear;
We know, alas! that he is marked for death,
But let his mother watch his parting breath;
O, let him die at home!

It could not be!
At midnight, on a dark and stormy sea,
Far from his kindred and his native land,
His pangs unsoothed by tender woman's hand,
The patient victim in his cabin lay,
And meekly breathed his blameless life away.

"Wrapped in the raiment that it long must wear,
His body to the deck they slowly bear;
How eloquent, how awful in its power,
The silent lecture of death's sabbath-hour!
One voice that silence breaks — the prayer is said,
And the last rite man pays to man is paid;
The plashing waters mark his resting-place,
And fold him round in one long, cold embrace;
Bright bubbles for a moment sparkle o'er,
Then break, to be, like him, beheld no more;
Down, countless fathoms down, he sinks to sleep,
With all the nameless shapes that haunt the deep."

Rest, Loved One, rest — beneath the billow's swell,
Where tongue ne'er spoke, where sunlight never fell;
Rest — till the God who gave thee to the deep
Rouse thee, triumphant, from the long, long sleep.
And You, whose hearts are bleeding, who deplore
That ye must see the wanderer's face no more,
Weep — he was worthy of the purest grief;
Weep — in such sorrow ye shall find relief;
While o'er his doom the bitter tear ye shed,
Memory shall trace the virtues of the dead;
These cannot die — for you, for him, they bloom,
And scatter fragrance round his ocean-tomb.

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