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Who clings to earth, and once would dare
Hell-heat or Arctic cold,
Would loose him from his hold;
He withers marrow and mind;
Is jutting thro' the rind;
The palsy wags his head;
Would fain that he were dead;
Were never worth the while,
But wakes a dotard smile.
Is feebler than his knees;
In ever-silent seas;
The Learned all his lore;
The merchant's hope no more;
And now is lost in cloud;
To mix with what he plow'd;
As heir of endless fame-
Not even his own name.
And, darkening in the light,
To mix with ancient Night.
The years that when my Youth began
Had set the lily and rose
Have ended mortal foes;
My lily of truth and trust-
And changed her into dust.
And growing, on her tomb,
Her blood is in your bloom.
And laughing back the light,
When all is dark as night.
As laughter over wine,
O brother, mine or thine,
And all that breathe are one
That moves, and all is gone.
[Macmillan's Magazine 1885.] Many a hearth upon our dark globe sighs after many a
vanish'd face, Many a planet by many a sun may roll with the dust
of a vanish'd race.
Raving politics, never at rest—as this poor earth's pale
What is it all but a trouble of ants in the gleam of a
million million of suns?
Lies upon this side, lies upon that side, truthless violence
mourn'd by the Wise, Thousands of voices drowning his own in a popular
torrent of lies upon lies;
Stately purposes, valour in battle, glorious annals of army
and fleet, Death for the right cause, death for the wrong cause,
trumpets of victory, groans of defeat;
Innocence seethed in her mother's milk, and Charity
setting the martyr aflame; Thraldom who walks with the banner of Freedom, and
recks not to ruin a realm in her name.
Faith at her zenith, or all but lost in the gloom of
doubts that darken the schools; Craft with a bunch of all-heal in her hand, follow'd up
by her vassal legion of fools;
Trade flying over a thousand seas with her spice and
her vintage, her silk and her corn; Desolate offing, sailorless harbours, famishing populace,
Star of the morning, Hope in the sunrise; gloom of the
evening, Life at a close; Pleasure who flaunts on her wide down-way with her
flying robe and her poison'd rose;
Pain, that has crawlid from the corpse of Pleasure, a
worm which writhes all day, and at night
Stirs up again in the heart of the sleeper, and stings
him back to the curse of the light;
Wealth with his wines and his wedded harlots; honest
Poverty, bare to the bone; Opulent Avarice, lean as Poverty; Flattery gilding the
rift in a throne;
Fame blowing out from her golden trumpet a jubilant
challenge to Time and to Fate; Slander, her shadow, sowing the nettle on all the laureld
graves of the Great;
Love for the maiden, crown'd with marriage, no regrets
for aught that has been, Household happiness, gracious children, debtless com
petence, golden mean;
National hatreds of whole generations, and pigmy spites
of the village spire; Vows that will last to the last death-ruckle, and vows
that are snapt in a moment of fire;
He that has lived for the lust of the minute, and died
in the doing it, flesh without mind; He that has nail'd all flesh to the Cross, till Self died
out in the love of his kind;
Spring and Summer and Autumn and Winter, and all
these old revolutions of earth; All new-old revolutions of Empire-change of the tide
- what is all of it worth?
What the philosophies, all the sciences, poesy, varying
voices of prayer? All that is noblest, all that is basest, all that is filthy
with all that is fair? Jiriczek, Englische Dichter.
What is it all, if we all of us end but in being our own
corpse-coffins at last, Swallow'd in Vastness, lost in Silence, drown'd in the
deeps of a meaningless Past?
What but a murmur of gnats in the gloom, or a moment's
anger of bees in their hive? –
Peace, let it be! for I loved him, and love him for ever:
the dead are not dead but alive.
THE SILENT VOICES.
WHEN the dumb Hour, clothed in black,
DOUBT AND PRAYER.
Tho' Sin too oft, when smitten by Thy rod,