“Good-bye (God be with you), to friend or lover
No dearer word of parting can be spoken,
No truer blessing mortal lips can utter,
Ere the sweet chain of intercourse is broken.
Surely there are no words so filled with sweetness,
So fraught with love, from loving hearts up-springing;
We speak them lightly when our hearts are gladdest,
When the sun shines, and when the birds are singing.
“Good-bye” (God be with you), our white lips murmur,
As we, with breaking hearts, bend o’er the dying;
“Good-bye, good-bye!” we sob out in our anguish
Above the grave where all we love is lying.
We speak the words in times of joy or sorrow;
“Good-bye” we whisper when our souls are starting
On that long journey to the land of daytime,
Where there is no “good-bye,” and no more parting.
Agnes Neale, Shadows and Sunbeams, Adelaide: Burden & Bonython, 1890, pages 35
ere = before (from the Middle English “er”, itself from the Old English “aer”, meaning early or soon)
o’er = over (pronounced the same as “oar”, “or”, and “ore”)