In Memoriam H.R.F.

Samuel Butler

Out, out, out into the night,

With the wind bitter north-east and the sea rough;

You have a racking cough and your lungs are weak,

But out, out into the night you go,

So guide you and guard you, Heaven, and fare you well!

 

We have been three lights to one another, and now we are two,

For you go far and alone into the darkness;

But the light in you was clearer and stronger than ours,

For you came straighter from God, and, whereas we had learned, 

You had never forgotten. Three minutes more and then—

Out, out into the night you go:

So guide you and guard you, Heaven, and fare you well! 

 

Never a cross look, never a thought,

Never a word that had better been left unspoken;

We gave you the best we had, such as it was,

It pleased you well, for you smiled and nodded your head; 

And now, out, out into the night you go,

So guide you and guard you, Heaven, and fare you well!

 

You said we were a little weak that the three of us wept; 

Are we, then, weak if we laugh when we are glad?

When men are under the knife let them roar as they will,

So that they flinch not.

Therefore let tears flow on, for so long as we live

No such second sorrow shall ever draw nigh us,

Till one of us two leaves the other alone

And goes out, out, out into the night,

So guards the one that is left, O God, and fare him well!

 

Yet for the great bitterness of this grief

We three, you and he and I, 

May pass into the hearts of like true comrades hereafter,

In whom we may weep anew and yet comfort them,

As they too pass out, out into the night,

So guide them and guard them, Heaven, and fare them well! 

 

The minutes have flown and he whom we loved is gone,

The like of whom we never again shall see.

The wind is heavy with snow and the sea rough,

He has a racking cough and his lungs are weak.

Hand in hand we watch the train as it glides

Out, out, out into the night.

So take him into thy holy keeping, O Lord,

And guide him and guard him ever, and fare him well!