I am standing on the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts fo rthe blue ocean. she is an object of beauty and strength, and i stand and watch her until at length shes is a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then someone at my side says, “There!  She’s gone!”  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 she is just as able to bear her load of living weight to her destined harbor.

Her diminished size is in me, not in her.  And just at the moment when someone at my side says, There!  She’s gone! there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, “There she comes!”

And that is dying.

Henry Jackson van Dyke[Adapted from 'A Parable of Immortality' by Henry Jackson van Dyke. It is reported that the last four words were added by an unknown source.

Born November 10, 1852, in Germantown, Pennsylvania, and educated in theology at Brooklyn Polytechnic, Princeton, and Berlin, Henry Jackson van Dyke worked twenty years as a minister, first in Newport, Rhode Island, from 1879 to 1883 and next in New York until 1899. His Christmas sermons, his essays, and his short stories made him a popular writer. His poems reveal a classical education as well as a common touch in matters of faith. He became Professor of English Literature at Princeton in 1900. In 1907, he wrote the still popular hymn Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee (set to Hymn of Joy from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony). During World War I he acted as American Minister to the Netherlands (1913-16) and then naval chaplain, for which he was awarded the Legion of Honor. He chaired the com­mit­tee that com­piled the Pres­by­ter­i­an Book of Com­mon Worship in 1905, and helped pre­pare the re­vised in edit­ion in 1932. He died April 10, 1933.]