The Ocean Burial

"Bury me not in the deep, deep sea!"
The words came faint and mournfully,
Form the pallid lips of a youth, who lay
On the cabin couch, where, day by day,
He had wasted and pined, til o'er his brow
The death shade had slowly passed--and now,
When the land and his fond-loved home were nigh,
They gathered around him to see him die.

"Bury me not in the deep deep sea,
Where the billowy shroud will roll over me--
Where no light can break through the dark cold wave,
And no sunbeam rest sweetly upon my grave.
'It boots not' I know I have oft been told
'Where the body shall lie when the heart is cold'--
Yet grant ye, oh! grant ye this boon to me,
Bury me not in the deep, deep sea!

"For in fancy I've listened to well known words--
The free, wild wind, and the song of birds--
I have thought of home, of cot and bower,
And of scenes that I loved in childhood's hour.
I have ever hoped to be laid, when I died,
In the church-yard there on the green hill side--
By the bones of my fathers my grave should be--
Bury me not in the deep, deep sea!

"Let my death slumber be where a mother's prayer
And a sister's tears can be blended there.
Oh! 'twill be sweet, ere the heart's throb is o'er,
To know when its fountain shall gush no more,
That those it so fondly has yearned for will come
To plant the first wild-flowers of spring on my tomb.
Let me lie where the loved-ones can weep over me--
Bury me not in the deep, deep sea.

"And there is another--her tears would be shed
For him who lay far in an ocean-bed.
In hours that it pains me to think of now,
She hath twined these locks and kissed this brow--
In the hair she hath wreathed shall the sea-snake hiss?
The brow she hath pressed shall the cold wave kiss?--
For the sake of that bright one who waits for me,
Bury me not in the deep, deep sea.

"She hath been in my dreams." His voice failed there.
They gave no heed to his dying prayer.
They have lowered him slow o'er the vessel's side--
Above him hath closed the solemn tide.
Where do dip her wing the wild fowl rests--
Where the blue waves dance with their foamy crests--
Where the billows bound and the winds sport free--
They have buried him there in the deep, deep sea.

Edwin Hubbell Chapin, "The Ocean Buried" Southern Literary Messenger 5, no 9 (September 1839)
Attribution: Rev. Edwin H. Chapin
DT Index: 9213, 9872