Drifting Away

A Fragment

They drift away. Ah, God! they drift for ever.
I watch the stream sweep onward to the sea,
Like some old battered buoy upon a roaring river,
Round whom the tide-waifs hang — then drift to sea.

I watch them drift — the old familiar faces,
Who fished and rode with me, by stream and wold,
Till ghosts, not men, fill old beloved places,
And, ah! the land is rank with churchyard mold.

I watch them drift — the youthful aspirations,
Shores, landmarks, beacons, drift alike.


I watch them drift — the poets and the statesmen;
The very streams run upward from the sea.


Yet overhead the boundless arch of heaven
Still fades to night, still blazes into day.


Ah, God! My God! Thou wilt not drift away.
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