* * * * *
“It is life to die.”
“It is life to die,” the muse has sung,
The prophet words have rung from pole to pole,
The trust, the hope to which many have clung,
An echo woke in many a weary soul.
“Ah! welcome thrice if but that death would
As sweeps the avalanche from Alpine hight,
As falls the flashing storm-sent lightning-bolt,
Resistless in its terror and its might.
“But oh! to die by slowest slow decay,
To clothe a dying heart in life’s warm breath,
When every day repeats a long eternity,
And every hour is but another death!”
O, God! why were we born to live a life,
From very thought of which our souls must shrink,
To sink down in the waves of human strife,
And ever only wait, and wait, and think.
No wonder that so many hapless ones,
Too sensitive the specter to defy,
Arm, Hamlet-like, against a sea of woes,
And test the truth, that “it is life to die.”
* * * * *
O, speak not hastily the word
Thine ear from idle tongues has heard.
If false the tale thou couldst recall,
How hard, and cruel must it fall?
If true, why, helping it along
Will never, never right the wrong.
O, speak it not, not speak the word
That wounds, though but in jest ’tis heard;
Keep back the thrust, the look askance,
The petty doubt, the sneering glance;
Keep back the taunts and jeers,
Life has enough of breaking hearts,
Of pointed barbs and venomed darts—
Enough of pain and tears.
O blame me not for the cruel words
In a moment of madness said;
The shadow that fell upon my life
Is cold as the shrouded dead.
Deem not I am hard and heartless;
My tears are as warm as thine;
’Twas clay that I crowned and worshipped,
And wept o’er its crumbled shrine.
To me, my passionate, deathless soul,
Was less than his finger-tips;
He turned away fro the gold of my love
For the dross on a wanton’s lips.
My faith in his truth is broken—
Even truth itself is a lie.
I have cursed him!—but I love him,
And I’ll love him till I die.
A ring on the door bell,
Some one at the door,
Mute asking admittance
Where never before
A stranger in midnight,
In silence and stealth,
Sought access to gain
In a mansion of wealth.
Into the gaslight
A package is borne;
Quickly from round it
The wrappings are torn.
What is it? a baby!
What seek you to-night,
So rosy and smiling,
Nor in fear, nor in fright?