Death

A poem by John Clare

The winds and waters are in his command,
Held as a courser in the rider's hand.
He lets them loose, they triumph at his will:
He checks their course and all is calm and still.
Life's hopes waste all to nothingness away
As showers at night wash out the steps of day.

* * * * *

The tyrant, in his lawless power deterred,
Bows before death, tame as a broken sword.
One dyeth in his strength and, torn from ease,
Groans in death pangs like tempests in the trees.
Another from the bitterness of clay
Falls calm as storms drop on an autumn day,
With noiseless speed as swift as summer light
Death slays and keeps her weapons out of sight.

The tyrants that do act the God in clay
And for earth's glories throw the heavens away,
Whose breath in power did like to thunder sear,
When anger hurried on the heels of fear,
Whose rage planned hosts of murders at a breath--
Here in sound silence sheath their rage in death.

Their feet, that crushed down freedom to its grave
And felt the very earth they trod a slave,
How quiet here they lie in death's cold arms
Without the power to crush the feeble worms
Who spite of all the dreadful fears they made
Creep there to conquer and are not afraid.

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