While Time a grim old lion gnawing lay,
And mumbled with his teeth yon regal tomb,
Like some immortal tear undimmed for aye,
This gem was dropped among the dust of doom.
Dropped, haply, by a sad, forgotten queen,
A tear to outlast name, and fame, and tongue:
Her other tears, and ours, all tears terrene,
For great new griefs to be hereafter sung.
Take it, - a goddess might have wept such tears,
Or Dame Electra changed into a star,
That waxed so dim because her children's years
In leaguered Troy were bitter through long war.
Not till the end to end grow dull or waste, -
Ah, what a little while the light we share!
Hand after hand shall yet with this be graced,
Signing the Will that leaves it to an heir.