Chapter Eight
A Parable of Immortality
by Henry Van Dyke

[This is but one of four timeless essays contained in Chapter 8. It was written by Henry Van Dyke, a 19th Century clergyman, educator, poet, religious writer, and United States Minister to the Netherlands. We trust that he -- and you -- will not mind the way that, for the purposes of this electronic publication, we have chosen to present these poetic words.]

I am standing upon the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze
and starts for the blue ocean.

She is an object of beauty and strength,
and I stand and watch until at last she hangs
like a speck of white cloud
just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says,
" There she goes! "

Gone where?

Gone from my sight . . . that is all.

She is just as large in mast and hull and spar
as she was when she left my side
and just as able to bear her load of living freight
to the place of destination.

Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

And just at the moment
when someone at my side says,
" There she goes! "
there are other eyes watching her coming . . .
and other voices ready to take up the glad shout . . .

" Here she comes! "


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When Someone Is Dying is 1988, Martin Hall, and published by Writeside Publishing Co., Eugene, Oregon.
ISBN: 0-9621163-0-0.