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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.


By James Whitcomb Riley (1849–1916)

I CANNOT say and I will not say

That he is dead.—He is just away!

With a cheery smile, and a wave of the hand,

He has wandered into an unknown land,

And left us dreaming how very fair

It needs must be, since he lingers there.

And you—O you, who the wildest yearn

For the old-time step and the glad return,—

Think of him faring on, as dear

In the love of There as the love of Here;

And loyal still as he gave the blows

Of his warrior strength to his country’s foes.

Mild and gentle, as he was brave,

When the sweetest love of his life he gave

To simple things: where the violets grew

Pure as the eyes they were likened to.

The touches of his hands have strayed

As reverently as his lips have prayed;

When the little brown thrush that harshly chirred

Was dear to him as the mocking-bird;

And he pitied as much as a man in pain

A writhing honey-bee wet with rain.—

Think of him still as the same, I say:

He is not dead—he is just away!