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54
By Ship or Grave

By Ship or Grave

By ship or grave, soon I must leave
the life that Iíve known. For that I should grieve.
But now the time comes I find I grieve not.
Iíve found that to dieís not as hard as is thought.
Nay, itís to live that is hard, now I find,
so little peace do I know in my mind.

By ship or grave, soon I must go
from the home of my heart. Oh, Sam, let me go!
Hold me not to this life; set me free of the Shire,
for Iíve givín all I have, and all spent is the fire
of love for our people, of love for the land;
only ashes are left, one lone ember in hand.

By ship or grave I must soon get me hence.
O Merry mine, I know you must sense
that my time, it has come. Itís time to be free
of memíries and pain and the hollow I see
in the depths of my heart. It scoured me out!
I need to be free of self-hatred and doubt.

By ship or grave. Pip, surely you see
my heart, it is empty, and it yearns to lead me
to seek delight elsewhere if such can be found.
Iíll be soon oíer sea--or íhaps laid in the ground.
Oh, Pip, comfort Merry; hold fast to my Sam.
Itís here you belong to fulfill this sweet land.

By ship or grave--the time, it comes fast!
Each time I draw breath one more hour gallops past.
Sweet Rose, hold him close; let him not follow me
for itís here in the Shire his fulfillment shall be.
May your smile give him comfort, your arms keep him warm,
and the love of your children keep his spirit from harm.

By ship or grave. What a choice given me!
Yet though I am loved here, no comfort I see.
My heartís ever restless, for I find I yet seek
the deceit of the Enímy; Iíd yet hear It speak
in the depths of my mind--how I hate It, and yet,
how bereft It has left me. I cannot forget.

I fear itís by grave that Iíll leave Middle Earth,
for barely they reach me with joy or with mirth.
I see thy sweet smile through a grey veil of grief.
Oh, ElanorellŽ, my time with theeís brief!
Of all my Samís children itís but thee Iíll know.
Greet them for me, EllŽ, after I go.

I now choose by ship, if it possible be.
Iíve suffered the East; the West now Iíll see.
Gandalf, hold my hand and please show me the way,
and bear with my fear of the end of the Day.
A new Day Iíll know if Iím granted the grace.
May the breath of the Valar dry the tears from my face.

So I chose the ship, and it bore me away
through the darkness of Night to the Light of the Day.
The Elves bore me up and the Maiar eased my pain,
and by grace my dear Bilbo did by me remain
Till I once again could stand straight on my own;
and then he went on, beyond West he has flown.

I give thanks for the ship; I give thanks for the Love
that freed me from emptiness, that raised me above
the pain of the memíries, the ache of the grief;
that brought me to healing, and ease and relief.
I thank thee, sweet Eru; I praise you the more
though now my heart thrills to the thought of the Shore--

--the Shore beyond ships or the reach of the Sea,
the Shore that is promised to mortals like me.
Iím glad Iím no Elf, eíer doomed to remain
within bounds of Arda in Timeís great domain.
With Sam by my side I know one day Iíll see
the realm of Beyond, sweet Eternity.

Beyond ship or grave, my true home Iíll know.
And there will be more there to see and to show
to those who come after. Iíll greet each in joy!
And new Purpose Iíll find for my spiritís employ.
The blessings work backward the grief to fulfill.
I rejoice that You blessed me, and Iíve dwelt in Your Will.


By ship, not by grave, the Hero went hence,
who offered his life in our sweet worldís defense.
Heíd not thought to live once It was destroyed;
yet he was returned, and his presence enjoyed
as long as he stayed. Then he went away.
His example we bless. For his easing we pray.

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