Verse > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow > Complete Poetical Works
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882).  Complete Poetical Works.  1893.
Ultima Thule
The Chamber over the Gate
          Written October 30, 1878. Suggested to the poet when writing a letter of condolence to the Bishop of Mississippi, whose son, the Rev. Duncan C. Green, had died at his post at Greenville, Mississippi, September 15, during the prevalence of yellow fever.

IS it so far from thee
Thou canst no longer see,
In the Chamber over the Gate,
That old man desolate,
Weeping and wailing sore        5
For his son, who is no more?
  O Absalom, my son!
Is it so long ago
That cry of human woe
From the walled city came,        10
Calling on his dear name,
That it has died away
In the distance of to-day?
  O Absalom, my son!
There is no far or near,        15
There is neither there nor here,
There is neither soon nor late,
In that Chamber over the Gate,
Nor any long ago
To that cry of human woe,        20
  O Absalom, my son!
From the ages that are past
The voice sounds like a blast,
Over seas that wreck and drown,
Over tumult of traffic and town;        25
And from ages yet to be
Come the echoes back to me,
  O Absalom, my son!
Somewhere at every hour
The watchman on the tower        30
Looks forth, and sees the fleet
Approach of the hurrying feet
Of messengers, that bear
The tidings of despair.
  O Absalom, my son!        35
He goes forth from the door,
Who shall return no more.
With him our joy departs;
The light goes out in our hearts;
In the Chamber over the Gate        40
We sit disconsolate.
  O Absalom, my son!
That ’t is a common grief
Bringeth but slight relief;
Ours is the bitterest loss,        45
Ours is the heaviest cross;
And forever the cry will be
“Would God I had died for thee,
  O Absalom, my son!”

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