Oh! is it Death that comes
To have a foretaste of the whole?
To-night the planets and the stars
Will glimmer through my window-bars
But will not shine upon my soul!
For I shall lie as dead
Though yet I am above the ground;
All passionless, with scarce a breath,
With hands of rest and eyes of death,
I shall be carried swiftly round.
Or if my life should break
The idle night with doubtful gleams,
Through mossy arches will I go,
Through arches ruinous and low,
And chase the true and false in dreams.
Why should I fall asleep?
When I am still upon my bed
The moon will shine, the winds will rise
And all around and through the skies
The light clouds travel o'er my head!
O busy, busy things,
Ye mock me with your ceaseless life!
For all the hidden springs will flow
And all the blades of grass will grow
When I have neither peace nor strife.
And all the long night through
The restless streams will hurry by;
And round the lands, with endless roar,
The white waves fall upon the shore,
And bit by bit devour the dry.
Even thus, but silently,
Eternity, thy tide shall flow,
And side by side with every star
Thy long-drawn swell shall bear me far,
An idle boat with none to row.
My senses fail with sleep;
My heart beats thick; the night is noon;
And faintly through its misty folds
I hear a drowsy clock that holds
Its converse with the waning moon.
Oh, solemn mystery
That I should be so closely bound
With neither terror nor constraint,
Without a murmur of complaint,
And lose myself upon such ground!