Time — The Ferryman

Image from Metal on Metal

From the Louisville Bulletin.

Time — The Ferryman.
—–
The ferryman time, with his locks of rime
And his ever-waning glass,
Hath laid on his bier another year,
And chaunted the midnight mass;
From the forest dim swelled the midnight hymn,
As earth bewailed the dead,
And the ocean bell rang out a knell
As the winged spirit fled.

The ferryman stands on the Stygian lands
By the flow of that sable river,
Mid a grisly throng whose sorrowful song
Like a dirge ascendeth ever;
And he hastens to row over that river of woe
The shrouded and coffined year,
Through the murky night that hath never the light
Of a single star to cheer.

The winds blow high — through the starless sky
Fly the storm clouds thick and fast,
And spectres float by the phantom boat
And shriek on the driving blast.
On, ferryman, on! Ere the night be gone
Thou hast many a league to row,
And many a shade, ere the darkness fade,
Shall tell it’s tale of woe.

Ambition shall tell how his castle fell,
Whose turrets mocked the clouds,
And point to the ghosts of his vanquished hosts,
Arrayed in gory shrouds.
No revellers call in his lordly ball,
Unstrung is the minstrel’s viol,
Not a sound to greet, save the pendulous beat
From the lone, monotonous dial.

Genius shall mourn how folly’s scorn
His heavenward flight depressed —
How the only food of his eagle brood
Was the life-tide of his breast.
Bright were the gleams that lit his dreams,
But oh, when he awoke
The light was gone — the vision flown,
And spell — and heart were broke!

Pure as the light of an Eastern night,
As it strays through the orange bowers,
Comes the lovelorn maid, Ophelia sad,
White robed and crowned with flowers.
Unhappy love! Thy plaint would move
To tears the coldest eye,
Rain pity’s showers and strew sweet flowers
Where the broken-hearted lie!

On, ferryman, on! for pale and wan
Is the crew that sails with thee,
Racked with all woe that mortals know,
And hopeless misery;
The whistling gales that fill thy sails
Are rapture to the soul,
When all the mirth and joy of earth
Have heard the death bell toll.

On, ferryman, on! Ere morning dawn
Thy prow must strike the shore —
Where the lethein draught of peace is quaffed,
And the struggle of life is o’er.
Our feet shall stand on the shining strand
Of life’s eternal river;
Where the buds of hope in beauty ope,
And the heart is young forever.

The Mountain Democrat (Placerville, California) Mar 24, 1855

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