804. The Old

Roden Berkeley Wriothesley Noel. 1834-1894

THEY are waiting on the shore
  For the bark to take them home:
They will toil and grieve no more;
  The hour for release hath come.

All their long life lies behind
  Like a dimly blending dream:
There is nothing left to bind
  To the realms that only seem.

They are waiting for the boat;
  There is nothing left to do:
What was near them grows remote,
  Happy silence falls like dew;
Now the shadowy bark is come,
  And the weary may go home.

By still water they would rest
  In the shadow of the tree:
After battle sleep is best,
  After noise, tranquillity.

The Oxford Book of English Verse, HTML edition