Walking to-day on the Common,
I heard a stranger say
To a friend who was standing near him,
"Do you know I am going away?"
I had never seen their faces:
May never see them again,
But the words the stranger uttered,
Stirred me with nameless pain.
For I knew some heart would miss him,
Would ache at his "going away,"
And the earth would seem all cheerless,
For many and many a day.
No matter how glad my spirit,
No matter how light my heart.
If I hear these two words uttered,
The tear drops always start.
They are so sad and solemn,
So full of a lonely sound:
Like dead leaves rustling downward,
And dropping upon the ground.
Oh I pity the naked branches,
When the skies are dull and gray,
And the last leaf whispers softly,
"Good-bye, I am going away."
In the dreary, dripping Autumn,
The wings of the flying birds
As they soar away to the southland,
Seem always to say these words.
Where ever they may be uttered,
They fall with a sob, and sigh;
And heart-aches follow the sentence,
"I am going away--Good-bye."
O God, in Thy blessed kingdom
No lips shall ever say,
No ears shall ever hearken,
To the words "I am going away."
For no soul ever wearies
Of the dear, bright, angel band,
And no saint ever wanders,
From the sunny, golden land.
Shells.by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Milwaukee:Hauser & Storey, 1873.
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