Fear thine own shadow—thou thyself art doom—
And tremble at the spectre of thy thought!
Alas! oblivion were cheaply bought,
Whate’er the price, howe’er the future loom.
Wouldst thou know Peace? Then flee from shining eyes;
Wouldst own thy heart? Leave fervent Love behind;
Break from the perfumed locks that snare and bind,
And shun the rose-sweet mouth that smiles and sighs.
All evil was ordained before all time;
My Destiny was writ by God’s own hand;
I have no hope, no fear of His command,
And yet mine anguished Love sobs through my rhyme.
O Heart! consider well that Death is sure,
Nor gloom with doubts thy life before its close.
Contentment comes alone to him who knows,
And all things pass, and nothing may endure.
A Place that hath a Signless Sign is there;
Finger on lip, a changeless Spectre stands.
Patient he waits the voiceless great commands,
Ere for thy feet he set the final snare.
O Cypress! Rose! Light of the World! beware!
Somewhere the Archer draws the bending bow;
Silent and swift the fatal arrows go—
And one shall find thy marble bosom bare.
There is a Gate men call ‘Eternity,’
Whereunto lead the paths of Dread and Fear.
Each light-spent day brings thee more surely near
Where dimly gleams the Sword of Destiny.
O arrogant! stake not thy beauty frail
Against the magic of the Moon and Stars;
And mock me not because my silence mars
Thine idle mirth and talk of no avail.
Plays the dawn wind with violet and rose,
And dimples o’er with smiles the river’s face;
Unto the cypress lends a subtler grace,
And brings the fevered sick divine repose.
But oh, forget not—insolent with glory—
The wind that opes the rose, the tulip breaks,
From off the bough the almond blossom shakes;
And Death the ending of Love’s sweetest story.