for seas are milder than this world’s turmoil

Real Rest
Patrick Branwell Brontë

‘I see a corpse upon the waters lie,
With eyes turned, swelled and sightless, to the sky,
And arms outstretched to move, as wave on wave
Upbears it in its boundless billowy grave.
Not time, but ocean, thins its flowing hair;
Decay, not sorrow, lays its forehead bare;
Its members move, but not in thankless toil,
For seas are milder than this world’s turmoil;
Corruption robs its lips and cheeks of red,
But wounded vanity grieves not the dead;
And, though those members hasten to decay,
No pang of suffering takes their strength away.
With untormented eye, and heart, and brain,
Through calm and storm it floats across the main;
Though love and joy have perished long ago,
Its bosom suffers not one pang of woe;
Though weeds and worms its cherished beauty hide,
It feels not wounded vanity nor pride;
Though journeying towards some far off shore,
It needs no care nor gold to float it o’er;
Though launched in voyage for eternity,
It need not think upon what is to be;
Though naked, helpless, and companionless,
It feels not poverty, nor knows distress.

‘Ah, corpse! if thou couldst tell my aching mind
What scenes of sorrow thou hast left behind,
How sad the life which, breathing, thou hast led,
How free from strife thy sojourn with the dead;
I would assume thy place—would long to be
A world-wide wanderer o’er the waves with thee!

I have a misery, where thou hast none;
My heart beats, bursting, whilst thine lies like stone;
My veins throb wild, whilst thine are dead and dry;
And woes, not waters, dim my restless eye;
Thou longest not with one well loved to be,
And absence does not break a chain with thee;
No sudden agonies dart through thy breast;
Thou hast what all men covet,—Real Rest.
I have an outward frame, unlike to thine,
Warm with young life—not cold in death’s decline;
An eye that sees the sunny light of Heaven,—
A heart by pleasure thrilled, by anguish riven—
But, in exchange for thy untroubled calm,
Thy gift of cold oblivion’s healing balm,
I’d give my youth, my health, my life to come,
And share thy slumbers in thy ocean tomb.’


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