Life And Death


Paul Hamilton Hayne

I fear thee not, O Death! nay, oft I pine

To clasp thy passionless bosom to mine own,

And on thy heart sob out my latest moan,

Ere lapped and lost in thy strange sleep divine;

But much I fear lest that chill breath of thine

Should freeze all tender memories into stone,—

Lest ruthless and malign Oblivion

Quench the last spark that lingers on love's shrine:

O God! to moulder through dark, dateless years,

The while all loving ministries shall cease,

And time assuage the fondest mourner's tears!

Here lies the sting!—this, this it is to die!

And yet great Nature rounds all strife with peace,

And Life or Death, each rests in mystery!

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