But if in some enchanted garden bloom
The rose imperial that will not fade,
Ah! shall I go with desecrating spade
And underneath her glories build a tomb?
Shall I that am as dust upon the plain
Think with unloosened hurricanes to fight?
Or shall I that was ravished from the night
Fall on the bosom of the night again?
Endure! and if you rashly would unfold
That manuscript whereon our lives are traced,
Recall the stream which carols thro’ the waste
And in the dark is rich with alien gold.
Myself did linger by the ragged beach,
Whereat wave after wave did rise and curl;
And as they fell, they fell—I saw them hurl
A message far more eloquent than speech:
We that with song our pilgrimage beguile,
With purple islands which a sunset bore,
We, sunk upon the sacrilegious shore,
May parley with oblivion awhile.
I would not have you keep nor idly flaunt
What may be gathered from the gracious land,
But I would have you sow with sleepless hand
The virtues that will balance your account.
The days are dressing all of us in white,
For him who will suspend us in a row.
But for the sun there is no death. I know
The centuries are morsels of the night.
A deed magnanimous, a noble thought
Are as the music singing thro’ the years
When surly Time the tyrant domineers
Against the lute whereoutof it was wrought.
Now to the Master of the World resign
Whatever touches you, what is prepared,
For many sons of wisdom are ensnared
And many fools in happiness recline.
Long have I tarried where the waters roll
From undeciphered caverns of the main,
And I have searched, and I have searched in vain,
Where I could drown the sorrows of my soul.
If I have harboured love within my breast,
’Twas for my comrades of the dusty day,
Who with me watched the loitering stars at play,
Who bore the burden of the same unrest.
For once the witcheries a maiden flung—
Then afterwards I knew she was the bride
Of Death; and as he came, so tender-eyed,
I—I rebuked him roundly, being young.