And every Sultan oft to thee hath prayed
To hold his throne, O jewelled Grand Vizier;
And where the Sultan, who hath not in fear
Dreamed of thy treachery, O subtle blade?
O sword! could I but use thy cooling steel
To quench the fire of love that burns my soul!—
The well-beloved doth bear a bitter bowl,
And I am drunk with grief as drunkards reel.
O heart! go thou the way that leads to dust—
Thou art beside thyself and not above
This burning madness that thou deemest love—
Die, and forget, as dream and die thou must.
As men have died for love that proved unkind,
Oh, may I now find rest, lay down my load;
Strange steps approach me quickly on the road
Where once I heard them faintly far behind.
Since Life’s the Evil … not Death’s final call …
Strive thou to be as dead before the end.
Life is the wily traitor, Death thy friend;
Why fear the gentle hand that ends it all?
In my life’s reckoning to show some gain,
E’en empty pleasures miserly I count—
Alas! alas! small is their whole amount
Measured against the awful sum of Pain.
Yet could we reach the Haven of Desire,
We’d spend the capital of Life’s pure gold—
Ay, lose the interest a thousand fold—
And sacrifice our souls to Passion’s fire.
Henceforth I swear Earth’s cares are naught to me;
Its joy and woe with equal brow I’ll bear;
O Heart’s Desire! I now no longer care—
Thy garlands are an empty mockery.
I will no longer strive through night and gloom:
There is no end to Time’s vicissitudes;
He gives us here and there soft interludes
Of Love and Hope—then seals the painted tomb!
And seek not in the stars a prophecy,
For straightway fear shall enter in thy heart—
A dimmed half-knowledge is a poisoned dart
That spreads its venom sure and endlessly.