Last Songs from Vagabondia

by Bliss Carman and Richard Hovey


 

THE LAST COMRADE


NOW who will tell me aright
The way my lost companion went in the night?
My vanished comrade who passed from the roofs of men,
And will not come again.

I have wandered up and down
5
Through all the streets of this bright and busy town,
Yet no one has seen a trace of him since the day
He silently went away.

I have haunted the wharves and the slips,
And talked with foreigners from the incoming ships;
10
But when I questioned them closely about my friend,
They seemed not to comprehend.

From men of book-learning, too,
I have sought knowledge, confident that they knew;
But when I inquired simply about my chum,
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They glanced at me and were dumb.

I have entered your churches of stone,
And heard discourse about God and the throng round his throne;
But the preacher knew nothing at all, when I broke in with,          "Where?"
And the people could only stare.
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Ah, no, you may read and read,
Pile modern heresy upon ancient creed!
But for all your study you know no more than I,
Under the open sky.

So ’t is, Back to the Inn! for me,
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Where my great friend and I were happy and free.
And I will remember his beautiful words and his ways,
For the rest of my days.

How eager he was for truth,
Yet never scorned the good things of his youth,
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The soul of gentleness and the soul of love!
I shall be wise enough.