The Jolly Company
by Rupert Brooke
The stars, a jolly company,
I envied, straying late and lonely;
And cried upon their revelry:
“O white companionship! You only
In love, in faith unbroken dwell,
Friends radiant and inseparable!”
Light-heart and glad they seemed to me
And merry comrades (even so
God out of heaven may laugh to see
the happy crowds; and never know
that in his lone obscure distress
each walketh in a wilderness).
But I, remembering, pitied well
And loved them, who, with lonely light,
In empty infinite spaces dwell,
Disconsolate. For, all the night,
I heard the thin gnat-voices cry,
Star to faint star, across the sky.
Reading this, I picture Bilbo looking up at the night sky where the Silmaril shines on Earendil’s brow as he sails alone. Then I read it again and think of Yvaine and Tristan, lighting the Babylon candle to journey to the sky: shining forever, but always that distance apart. Then I read it again and think of every creature that was lifted out of terrestrial distress to be set, forever unchanging, in the heavens. There is a sharp poignancy there, in the unbridgeable dark between the stars.
This post was some of a response to the Daily Prompt, though not really in answer to it, as I’m disinclined to say much of my last bout of loneliness.