Table of Contents   Previous Chapter   Next Chapter

WILLIAM (JOHNSON) CORY

1823-1892

767                                        Mimnermus in Church

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 fear,
  And child-like hide myself in love:
Show me what angels feel. Till then
I cling, a mere weak man, to men.
You bid me lift my mean desires
  From faltering lips and fitful veins
To sexless souls, ideal quires,
  Unwearied voices, wordless strains:
My mind with fonder welcome owns
One dear dead friends rememberd tones.
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 die.

768                                               Heraclitus

THEY told me, Heraclitus, they told me you were dead,
They brought me bitter news to hear and bitter tears to
       shed.
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.

 

Table of Contents   Previous Chapter   Next Chapter