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“ But,” sayest thou-(and I marvel, I repeat, To find thee tripping on a mere word) “what “ Thou writest, paintest, stays; that does not die “ Sappho survives, because we sing her songs, “ And Æschylus, because we read his plays ! ” Why, if they live still, let them come and take Thy slave in my despite, drink from thy cup, Speak in my place. Thou diest while I survive ? Say rather that my fate is deadlier still, In this, that every day my sense of joy Grows more acute, my soul (intensified By power and insight) more enlarged, more keen; While every day my hair falls more and more, My hand shakes, and the heavy years increaseThe horror quickening still from year to year, The consummation coming past escape, When I shall know most, and yet least enjoyWhen all my works wherein I prove my worth, Being present still to mock me in men's mouths, Alive still, in the phrase of such as thou,
as thou, I, I the feeling, thinking, acting man, The man who loved his life so over-much, Shall sleep in my urn. It is so horrible, I dare at times imagine to my need Some future state revealed to us by Zeus, Unlimited in capability For joy, as this is in desire for joy, -To seek which, the joy-hunger forces us : That, stung by straitness of our life, made strait On purpose to make prized the life at largeFreed by the throbbing impulse we call death, We burst there as the worm into the fly,
Who, while a worm still, wants his wings. But no !
Live long and happy, and in that thought die,
Of the million or two, more or less,
II. I struck him, he grovelled of courseFor, what was his force ? I pinned him to earth with my weight And persistence of hate; And he lay, would not moan, would not curse, As his lot might be worse.
“ Were the object less mean, would he stand “ At the swing of my hand ! “For obscurity helps him, and blots “ The hole where he squats.". So, I set my five wits on the stretch To inveigle the wretch. All in vain ! Gold and jewels I threw, Still he couched there perdue ;
I tempted his blood and his flesh,
Had he kith now or kin, were access
. V. Then a humour more great took its place At the thought of his face : The droop, the low cares of the mouth, The trouble uncouth 'Twixt the brows, all that air one is fain To put out of its pain. And, “no !" I admonished myself, “ Is one mocked by an elf, “ Is one baffled by toad or by rat? “ The gravamen 's in that'! “ How the lion, who crouches to suit “ His back to my foot,
“ Would admire that I stand in debate !
VII. When sudden ... how think ye, the end ? Did I say “without friend ?" Say rather, from marge to blue marge The whole sky grew his targe With the sun's self for visible boss, While an Arm ran across Which the earth heaved beneath like a breast, Where the wretch was safe prest ! Do you see? Just my vengeance complete, The man sprang to his feet, Stood erect, caught at God's skirts, and prayed ! -So, I was afraid !