Echoes from Vagabondia

by Bliss Carman




OTHERS must praise him for the plays he wrote,
Or criticize him in perfunctory mode.
I only know our peerless friend is gone,
Leaving for us an emptier world where once
This gentlest of all gentle men abode.

Let us not wrong so genuine a soul—
So modest after all his honored years—
With high-flown eulogy and sounding phrase.
It is enough that loss of him must reach
To the profound sincerity of tears.

Many will see him still with dog and pipe
Strolling through little ’Sconset by the sea,
Among the happy bathers on the beach,
Watching the sunset of the purple moors,
Or on the way to lonely Sankoty.

The courtly welcome from his cabin door,
Far from the mainland on his isle of dreams,
Must hold its spell forever in our hearts,
To shame ungenerous credence or offense
With faith in simple kindness and high themes.

When last I saw him it was at his ease
On the wide lounge before the blazing fire—
The hospitable hearthstone of The Players.
So free of spirit, so fine, and so humane,
Kindly to judge and kindling to inspire!

Dear Bronson Howard! Could mortal ever live
More loyally for loveliness and right?
We shall not find him now by hearth nor shore,
But all life long love must recall his smile—
Immortal friend of sweetness and of light.