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"Good-by---God Bless You!"
by Eugene Field (1850-1895)

I like the Anglo-Saxon speech
   With its direct revealings;
It takes a hold, and seems to reach
   'Way down into your feelings;
That some folk deem it rude, I know,
   And therefore they abuse it;
But I have never found it so,---
   Before all else I choose it.
I don't object that men should air
   The Gallic they have paid for,
With "Au revoir," "Adieu, ma chère,"
   For that 's what French was made for.
But when a crony takes your hand
   At parting, to address you,
He drops all foreign lingo and
   He says, "Good-by---God bless you!"

This seems to me a sacred phrase,
   With reverence impassioned,---
A thing come down from righteous days,
   Quaintly but nobly fashioned;
It well becomes an honest face,
   A voice that 's round and cheerful;
It stays the sturdy in his place,
   And soothes the weak and fearful.
Into the porches of the ears
   It steals with subtle unction,
And in your heart of hearts appears
   To work its gracious function;
And all day long with pleasing song
   It lingers to caress you,---
I 'm sure no human heart goes wrong
   That 's told "Good-by---God bless you!"

I love the words,---perhaps because,
   When I was leaving Mother,
Standing at last in solemn pause
   We looked at one another,
And I---I saw in Mother's eyes
   The love she could not tell me,---
A love eternal as the skies,
   Whatever fate befell me;
She put her arms about my neck
   And soothed the pain of leaving,
And though her heart was like to break,
   She spoke no word of grieving;
She let no tear bedim her eye,
   For fear that might distress me,
But, kissing me, she said good-by,
   And asked our God to bless me.

 

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Page last updated: 21 January 1999
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