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THE WHOLE HEAD IS SICK AND THE WHOLE HEART FAINT.
WOE for the young who say that life is long,
Who turn from the sun-rising to the West,
Who feel no pleasure and can find no rest,
Who in the morning sigh for evensong.
Their hearts, weary because of this world's wrong,
Yearn with a thousand longings unexprest;
They have a wound no mortal ever drest,
An ill than all earth's remedies more strong.
For them the fount of gladness hath run dry,
And in all Nature is no pleasant thing;
For them there is no glory in the sky,
No sweetness in the breezes' murmuring:
They say, "The peace of heaven is placed too high,
And this earth changeth and is perishing."
[Goblin Market etc. 1862. 12 December 1848.]
WHEN I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me;
Plant thou no roses at my head,
Nor shady cypress tree:
Be the green grass above me
With showers and dewdrops wet:
And if thou wilt, remember,
And if thou wilt, forget.
Jiriczek, Englische Dichter.
I shall not see the shadows,
I shall not feel the rain;
I shall not hear the nightingale
Sing on as if in pain:
And dreaming through the twilight
That doth not rise nor set,
Haply I may remember,
And haply may forget.
[The Germ 1850. 5 March 1849.]
LOVE, strong as Death, is dead.
Come, let us make his bed
Among the dying flowers:
A green turf at his head;
And a stone at his feet,
Whereon we may sit
In the quiet evening hours.
He was born in the spring,
And died before the harvesting:
On the last warm summer day
He left us; he would not stay
For autumn twilight cold and grey.
Sit we by his grave, and sing,
He is gone away.
To few chords and sad and low
Sing we so:
Be our eyes fixed on the grass
Shadow-veiled as the years pass,
While we think of all that was
In the long ago.
SWEET sweet sound of distant waters, falling On a parched and thirsty plain:
Sweet sweet song of soaring skylark, calling On the sun to shine again:
Perfume of the rose, only the fresher
For past fertilizing rain:
Pearls amid the sea, a hidden treasure
For some daring hand to gain:-
Better, dearer than all these
Is the earth beneath the trees:
Of a much more priceless worth
Is the old brown common earth.
Little snow-white lamb, piteously bleating
For thy mother far away:
Saddest sweetest nightingale, retreating
With thy sorrow from the day:
Weary fawn whom night has overtaken,
From the herd gone quite astray:
Dove whose nest was rifled and forsaken
In the budding month of May:-
Roost upon the leafy trees,
Lie on earth and take your ease:
Death is better far than birth:
You shall turn again to earth.
Listen to the never-pausing murmur
Of the waves that fret the shore:
See the ancient pine that stands the firmer
For the storm-shock that it bore:
And the moon her silver chalice filling
With light from the great sun's store:
And the stars which deck our temple's ceiling
As the flowers deck its floor:
Look and hearken while you may,
For these things shall pass away:
All these things shall fail and cease:
Let us wait the end in peace.
Let us wait the end in peace, for truly
That shall cease which was before:
Let us see our lamps are lighted, duly
Fed with oil nor wanting more:
Let us pray while yet the Lord will hear us,
For the time is almost o'er:
Yea, the end of all is very near us:
Yea, the Judge is at the door.
Let us pray now, while we may:
It will be too late to pray
When the quick and dead shall all
Rise at the last trumpet-call.
[Goblin Market etc. 1862.
VANITY of vanities, the Preacher saith,
All things are vanity. The eye and ear
Cannot be filled with what they see and hear.
Like early dew, or like the sudden breath
Of wind, or like the grass that withereth,
Is man, tossed to and fro by hope and fear:
So little joy hath he, so little cheer,