(FROM THE “ATHENEUM.”)
Upon the white sea-sand
There sat a pilgrim-band,
Telling the losses that their lives had known,
While evening waned away
From breezy cliff and bay,
And the strong tides went out with weary moan.
One spake, with quivering lip,
Of a fair freighted ship,
With all his household to the deep gone down:
But one had wilder woe,
For a fair face long ago
Lost in the darker depths of a great town.
There were who mourned their youth
With a most loving ruth*,
For its brave hopes and memories ever green;
And one upon the West
Turned on eye that would not rest
For far-off bills whereon its joy had been.
Some talked of vanished gold,
Some of proud honours told,
Some spake of friends that were their trust no more;
And one of a green grave,
Beside a foreign wave,
That made him sit so lonely on the shore.
But when their tales were done,
There spake among them one,
A stranger, seeming from all sorrow free, -
“Sad losses have ye met,
But mine is heavier yet,
For a believing heart hath gone from me.”
“Alas!” these pilgrims said,
“For the living and the dead,
For fortune’s cruelty, for love’s sure cross,
For the wrecks of land and sea!
But, however it came to thee,
Thine, stranger, is life’s last and heaviest loss.”
*Ruth = a feeling of sympathy and sorrow for the misfortunes of others