William (Johnson) Cory.
YOU promise heavens free from strife,
Pure truth, and perfect change of will;
But sweet, sweet
is this human life,
So sweet, I fain would breathe it still;
Your chilly stars I can forgo,
This warm kind world
is all I know.
You say there is no substance here,
One great reality above:
Back from that void I shrink in
And child-like hide myself in love:
Show me what angels feel. Till then
I cling, a mere weak man, to
You bid me lift my mean desires
From faltering lips and fitful veins
To sexless souls, ideal
Unwearied voices, wordless strains:
My mind with fonder welcome owns
One dear dead friends
Forsooth the present we must give
To that which cannot pass away;
All beauteous things for
which we live
By laws of time and space decay.
But Oh, the very reason why
I clasp them, is because
THEY told me, Heraclitus, they told me you were dead,
They brought me bitter news to hear
and bitter tears to
I wept as I rememberd how often you and I
Had tired the sun with talking and
sent him down the sky.
And now that thou art lying, my dear old Carian guest,
A handful of grey ashes, long, long
ago at rest,
Still are thy pleasant voices, thy nightingales, awake;
For Death, he taketh all away, but them
he cannot take.
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