Nonfiction > Verse > Ralph Waldo Emerson > The Complete Works > Poems
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882).  The Complete Works.  1904.
Vol. IX. Poems
 
II. May-Day and Other Pieces
The Last Farewell
 
Lines Written by the Author’s Brother, Edward Bliss Emerson, Whilst Sailing out of Boston Harbor, Bound for the Island of Porto Rico, in 1832 1

FAREWELL, 2 ye lofty spires
That cheered the holy light!
Farewell, domestic fires
That broke the gloom of night!
Too soon those spires are lost,        5
Too fast we leave the bay,
Too soon by ocean tost
From hearth and home away,
        Far away, far away.
 
Farewell the busy town,        10
The wealthy and the wise,
Kind smile and honest frown
From bright, familiar eyes.
All these are fading now;
Our brig hastes on her way,        15
Her unremembering prow
Is leaping o’er the sea,
        Far away, far away.
 
Farewell, my mother fond,
Too kind, too good to me;        20
Nor pearl nor diamond
Would pay my debt to thee.
But even thy kiss denies
Upon my cheek to stay;
The winged vessel flies,        25
And billows round her play,
        Far away, far away.
 
Farewell, my brothers true,
My betters, yet my peers;
How desert without you        30
My few and evil years!
But though aye one in heart,
Together sad or gay,
Rude ocean doth us part;
We separate to-day,        35
        Far away, far away.
 
Farewell, thou fairest one,
Unplighted yet to me,
Uncertain of thine own
I gave my heart to thee.        40
That untold early love
I leave untold to-day,
My lips in whisper move
Farewell to .….!
        Far away, far away.        45
 
Farewell I breathe again
To dim New England’s shore;
My heart shall beat not when
I pant for thee no more.
In yon green palmy isle,        50
Beneath the tropic ray,
I murmur never while
For thee and thine I pray;
        Far away, far away.
 
Note 1. Edward was born in 1805, but though two years younger than Waldo, the latter used to say that they were really very near together, as he was near the foot of his classes, and Edward at the head of his. Those who remembered him said that he was strikingly handsome, a born scholar, more brilliant in his studies and his speech than Waldo, and a favorite in society. All through college he was easily first scholar. Though of delicate constitution, his conscience and his ambition would not allow him to spare himself. Daniel Webster, in whose office he studied law, recognized his powers and his fine character, and committed to him the charge of his two sons. Yet Edward heaped other tasks upon himself, to free himself from debt incurred in the voyage to Europe for his health, until his reason for a time gave way under the strain. This he soon regained, but his mainspring seemed broken. Advised to go to a milder climate, he took a clerkship in a business house in Porto Rico, and worked uncomplainingly there for a few years. Friends who saw his cheerful demeanor reported that he was in the way of recovery of his vigor, but it appears that he himself knew that, as he wrote, “the arrow of the angel had gone too deep.” A verse telling of a private grief, which Mr. Emerson omitted, may now be restored. [back]
Note 2. Mr. Emerson printed his brother Edward’s sad farewell to all that was dear to him, six years after his death, in the first number of the Dial. [back]
 
 
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