Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (18071882). Complete Poetical Works. 1893. In the Harbor
In Memory of J. T. F.
In April, 1881, Mr. Longfellow notes in his diary: A sorrowful and distracted week. Fields died on Sunday, the 24th. Palfrey died on Tuesday. Two intimate friends in one week! The poem was written April 30, 1881.
U NTIL we meet again! That is the meaning
Of the familiar words, that men repeat
At parting in the street.
Ah yes, till then! but when death intervening
Rends us asunder, with what ceaseless pain 5
We wait for the Again!
The friends who leave us do not feel the sorrow
Of parting, as we feel it, who must stay
Lamenting day by day,
And knowing, when we wake upon the morrow, 10
We shall not find in its accustomed place
The one beloved face.
It were a double grief, if the departed,
Being released from earth, should still retain
A sense of earthly pain; 15
It were a double grief, if the true-hearted,
Who loved us here, should on the farther shore
Remember us no more.
Believing, in the midst of our afflictions,
That death is a beginning, not an end, 20
We cry to them, and send
Farewells, that better might be called predictions,
Being fore-shadowings of the future, thrown
Into the vast Unknown.
Faith overleaps the confines of our reason, 25
And if by faith, as in old times was said,
Women received their dead
Raised up to life, then only for a season
Our partings are, nor shall we wait in vain Until we meet again! 30