I heard the dogs howl in the moonlight night;
I went to the window to see the sight;
All the Dead that ever I knew
Going one by one and two by two.
On they pass’d, and on they pass’d;
Townsfellows all, from first to last;
Born in the moonlight of the lane,
Quench’d in the heavy shadow again.
Schoolmates, marching as when they play’d
At soldiers once – but now more staid;
Those were the strangest sight to me
Who were drown’d, I knew, in the awful sea.
Straight and handsome folk, bent and weak, too;
Some that I loved, and gasp’d to speak to;
Some but a day in their churchyard bed;
Some that I had not known were dead.
A long, long crowd – where each seem’d lonely,
Yet of them all there was one, one only,
Raised a head or look’d my way;
She linger’d a moment – she might not stay.
How long since I saw that fair pale face!
Ah! Mother dear! might I only place
My head on thy breast, a moment to rest,
While thy hand on my tearful cheek were prest!
On, on, a moving bridge they made
Across the moon-stream, from shade to shade,
Young and old, women and men;
Many long-forgot, but remembered then,
And first there came a bitter laughter;
A sound of tears a moment after;
And then a music so lofty and gay,
That eve morning, day by day,
I strive to recall it if I may.