The poem was published in 1870 in the Portland Evening Journal, and was immediately republished in several newspapers over the next several months. It became, and likely remains, Pollock's most famous work:
There's something in the "parting hour"
Will chill the warmest heart,
Yet kindred, comrades, lovers, friends,
Are fated all to part;
But this I've seen,—and many a pang
Has pressed it on my mind,—
The one who goes is happier
Than those he leaves behind.
No matter what the journey be,—
Adventurous, dangerous, far,
To the wild deep, or bleak frontier,
To solitude or war,—
Still something cheers the heart that dares,
In all of human kind,
And they who go are happier
Than those they leave behind.
The bride goes to the bridegroom's home
With doubtings and with tears,
But does not hope a rainbow spread
Across her cloudy fears?
Alas! the mother who remains,
What comfort can she find
But this,—the gone is happier
Than one she leaves behind?
Have you a friend, a comrade dear,
An old and valued friend?
Be sure your term of sweet concourse
At length will have an end;
And when you part, as part you will,
Oh, take it not unkind
If he who goes is happier
Than you he leaves behind.
God wills it so,—and so it is,—
The pilgrims on their way,
Though weak and worn, more cheerful are
Than all the rest who stay.
And when at last poor man, subdued,
Lies down, to death resigned,
May he not still be happier far
Than those he leaves behind?