The Fairest Land

by Marietta Holley

Marietta Holley

'Twas a bleak dull moor that stretched before
The low stone porch of the cottage door,
And standing there was youth and maid,
He for long journeying seemed arrayed,
And the sunset flamed in the burnished west,
And a proud throb beat in the young man's breast,
As he whispered, "Sweet, will you come to me
In that fairer land beyond the sea?"

"The wonderful western land; in dreams
I have seen its prairies green, and gleams
Of its shining waterfalls, valleys fair,
And a voice in my dreams has called me there
Where man is a man, and not a clod,
And must bend the knee to none but God.
A home will I make for thee and me
In that fairer land beyond the sea."

"But the cruel seas where the fated ships
Go down to their doom" — But he kissed the lips —
The trembling lips, till they smiled again,
And his bright hopes cheered her heart's dull pain,
And she laid her head on his hopeful breast,
And looked with him to the glowing west,
And said, "I will come, I will come to thee
To that fairer land beyond the seas."

And the crimson light changed to daffodil —
To ashen gray, but they stood there still,
And high o'er the west shone the evening star
As still he pictured that home afar —
"The peace and the bliss our own at last
When this dreary parting all is past,
When my heart's dear love, you come to me
In that fairer land beyond the sea."

So he sailed; but saddest 'tis alway
Not for those who go, but for those who stay;
And her sweet eyes gathered a shadow dim
As days went by with no news of him,
And weeks and months, but at last it came,
As the gray moor shone with the sunset flame
Her quick eyes glanced the strange lines o'er,
Then she fell like dead on the cottage floor.

'Twas a stranded ship on a rocky coast,
One true heart brave, when hope was lost,
How he toiled till all the shore had gained,
And only a baby form remained
On ship, how he breasted the surging tide
With Death a-wrestling side by side,
How he lifted the child to its mother's knee,
As a great wave washed him out to sea.

And for days the maid in the cottage door
Sat and looked o'er the dreary moor,
Her cheeks grew white 'neath her blinding tears,
And the sunset rays seemed cruel spears
That pierced her heart; and ashen gray
Turned the earth and sky, the night, the day;
But at last a star shone high above —
The tender star of the heavenly love.

For as her life ebbed day by day,
The High Countrie, the Fair alway,
Rose 'fore her eyes, the safe, sweet home,
And she seemed to hear, "Love, will you come?"
And so one eve when a bridge of gold
Seemed spanning the last sea dim and cold,
She went to him, for aye to be
In the fairest land beyond the sea.

Last updated November 04, 2022