An Epicedium

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HE left his home with a bounding heart,
  For the world was all before him;
And he felt it scarce a pain to part,
  Such sun-bright beams came o'er him.
He turned him to visions of future years,
  The rainbow's hues were around them;
And a father's bodings - a mother's tears -
  Might not weigh with the hopes, that crowned them.

That mother's cheek is far paler now
  Then when she last caressed him;
There's an added gloom, on that father's brow,
  Since the hour, when last he blessed him.
Oh! that all human hopes should prove
  Like the flowers, that will fade to-morrow;
And the cankering fears of anxious love
  Ever end in truth and sorrow.

He left his home with a swelling sail,
  Of fame and fortune dreaming -
With a spirit, as free as the vernal gale,
  Or the pennon above him streaming.
He hath reached his goal;- by a distant wave,
  'Neath a sultry sun they've laid him;
And stranger forms bent o'er his grave,
  When the last sad rites were paid him.

He should have died in his own loved land,
  With friends and kinsmen near him;
Not have withered thus on a foreign strand,
  With no thought, save of heaven, to cheer him.
But what recks it now?- Is his sleep less sound,
  In that port where the wild winds swept him,
Than if home's green turf his grave had bound,
  Or the hearts he loved had wept him?

Then why repine? - Can he feel the rays
  That pestilent sun sheds o'er him;
Or share the grief, that may cloud the days
  Of the friends, who now deplore him?
No; his bark's at anchor - its sails are furled,-
  It hath 'scaped the storms' deep chiding;
And, safe from the buffeting waves of the world,
  In a haven of peace is riding.

© Alaric Alexander Watts