Francis William Lauderdale Adams
A Death At Sea
(Coral Sea, Australia)
DEAD in the sheep-pen he lies,
Wrapped in an old brown sail.
The smiling blue sea and the skies
Know not sorrow nor wail.
Dragged up out of the hold,
Dead on his last way home,
Worn-out, wizened, a Chinee old, —
O he is safe — at home!
Brother, I stand not as these
Staring upon you here.
One of earth's patient toilers at peace
I see, I revere!
In the warm cloudy night we go
From the motionless ship;
Our lanterns feebly glow;
Our oars drop and drip.
We land on the thin pale beach,
The coral isle's round us;
A glade of driven sand we reach;
Our burial ground's found us.
There we dig him a grave, jesting;
We know not his name.
What heeds he who is resting, resting?
Would I were the same!
Come away, it is over and done!
Peace and he shall not sever,
By moonlight nor light of the sun,
For ever and ever!
'Sleep in the pure driven sand,
(No one will know)
In the coral isle by the land
Where the blue tides come and go.
'Alive, thou wert poor, despised;
Dead, thou canst have
What mightiest monarchs have prized,
An eternal grave!
'Alone with the lovely isles,
With the lovely deep,
Where the sea-winds sing and the sunlight smiles,
Thou liest asleep!'
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