Like a plank of driftwood Tossed on the watery main, Another plank encountered, Meets, touches, parts again; So tossed, and drifting ever, On lifes unresting sea, Men meet, and greet, and sever, Parting eternally. Edwin ArnoldBook of Good Counsel. Trans. from the Sanscrit of the Hitopadéesa. A literal trans. by Max Müller appeared in The Fortnightly, July, 1898. He also translated the same idea from the Mahavastu.
As drifting logs of wood may haply meet On oceans waters surging to and fro, And having met, drift once again apart, So, fleeting is the intercourse of men.
Een as a traveler meeting with the shade Of some oerhung tree, awhile reposes, Then leaves its shelter to pursue his ways, So men meet friends, then part with them for ever. Trans. of the Code of Manu. In Words of Wisdom.
Two lives that once part, are as ships that divide When, moment on moment, there rashes between The one and the other, a sea; Ah, never can fall from the days that have been A gleam on the years that shall be! Bulwer-LyttonA Lament. L. 10.
Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing, Only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness: So on the ocean of life, we pass and speak one another, Only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence. LongfellowTales of a Wayside Inn. The Theologians Tale. Elizabeth. Pt. IV.
Some day, some day of days, threading the street With idle, heedless pace, Unlooking for such grace, I shall behold your face! Some day, some day of days, thus may we meet. Nora PerrySome Day of Days.
We twain have met like the ships upon the sea, Who behold an hours converse, so short, so sweet; One little hour! and then, away they speed On lonely paths, through mist, and cloud, and foam, To meet no more. Alexander SmithLife Drama. Sc. IV.