Walking to-day on the Common,
I heard a stranger say
To a friend who was standing near him,
‘Do you know I am going away? ‘
I had never seen their faces,
May never see them again;
Yet the words the stranger uttered,
Stirred me with nameless pain.
For I knew some heart would miss him,
Would ache at his going away!
And the earth would seem all cheerless
For many and many a day.
No matter how light my spirits,
No matter how glad my heart,
If I hear those two words spoken,
The teardrops always start.
They are so sad and solemn,
So full of a lonely sound;
Like dead leaves rustling downward,
And dropping upon the ground,
Oh, I pity the naked branches,
When the skies are dull and gray,
And the last leaf whispers softly,
‘Good-bye, I am going away.’
In the dreary, dripping autumn,
The wings of the flying birds,
As they soar away to the south land,
Seem always to say those words.
Wherever they may be spoken,
They fall with a sob and a sigh;
And heartaches follow the sentence,
‘I am going away, Good-bye.’
O God, in Thy blessed kingdom,
No lips shall ever say,
No ears shall ever harken
To the words ‘I am going away.’
For no soul ever wearies
Of the dear, bright angel land,
And no saint ever wanders
From the sunny golden land.