DEPARTURE
(Southampton Docks: October, 1899)
Thomas Hardy - Poems of the Past and Present

While the far farewell music thins and fails,
And the broad bottoms rip the bearing brine -
All smalling slowly to the gray sea line -
And each significant red smoke-shaft pales,

Keen sense of severance everywhere prevails,
Which shapes the late long tramp of mounting men
To seeming words that ask and ask again:
"How long, O striving Teutons, Slavs, and Gaels

Must your wroth reasonings trade on lives like these,
That are as puppets in a playing hand? -
When shall the saner softer polities
Whereof we dream, have play in each proud land,
And patriotism, grown Godlike, scorn to stand
Bondslave to realms, but circle earth and seas?"

It's little I care what path I take,
And where it leads it's little I care;
But out of this house, lest my heart break,
I must go, and off somewhere.

It's little I know what's in my heart,
What's in my mind it's little I know,
But there's that in me must up and start,
And it's little I care where my feet go.

I wish I could walk for a day and a night,
And find me at dawn in a desolate place
With never the rut of a road in sight,
Nor the roof of a house, nor the eyes of a face.

I wish I could walk till my blood should spout,
And drop me, never to stir again,
On a shore that is wide, for the tide is out,
And the weedy rocks are bare to the rain.

But dump or dock, where the path I take
Brings up, it's little enough I care:
And it's little I'd mind the fuss they'll make,
Huddled dead in a ditch somewhere.

'Is something the matter, dear,' she said,
'That you sit at your work so silently?'
'No, mother, no, 'twas a knot in my thread.
There goes the kettle, I'll make the tea.'

--from The Harp-Weaver and Other Poems, 1923, Edna St. Vincent Millay

De*par"ture (?; 135), n. [From Depart.]

1.

Division; separation; putting away.

[Obs.]

No other remedy . . . but absolute departure. Milton.

2.

Separation or removal from a place; the act or process of departing or going away.

Departure from this happy place. Milton.

3.

Removal from the present life; death; decease.

The time of my departure is at hand. 2 Tim. iv. 6.

His timely departure . . . barred him from the knowledge of his son's miseries. Sir P. Sidney.

4.

Deviation or abandonment, as from or of a rule or course of action, a plan, or a purpose.

Any departure from a national standard. Prescott.

5. Law

The desertion by a party to any pleading of the ground taken by him in his last antecedent pleading, and the adoption of another.

Bouvier.

6. Nav. & Surv.

The distance due east or west which a person or ship passes over in going along an oblique line.

⇒ Since the meridians sensibly converge, the departure in navigation is not measured from the beginning nor from the end of the ship's course, but is regarded as the total easting or westing made by the ship or person as he travels over the course.

To take a departure Nav. & Surv., to ascertain, usually by taking bearings from a landmark, the position of a vessel at the beginning of a voyage as a point from which to begin her dead reckoning; as, the ship took her departure from Sandy Hook.

Syn. -- Death; demise; release. See Death.

 

© Webster 1913.

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