An Anthology of Modern Bohemian Poetry/Stairs
Some on the way to palaces are laid,
With statues and with tapestry adorned,
Of marble with a grey-lined ballistrade.
The second in the burgher's dwelling end,
Only of sandstone—unadomed are they,
And turning, by a modest path ascend.
Others are worn away in woeful wise,
And they are high, where ne'er a foot may tread,
And moisture on the wall above them lies.
But yet a thought—whatever stairs they be
On which by chance I linger in the town,
Ever one thought there is brings grief to me:
That o'er them all 'midst cherished souls' dismay,
And with unhappiness and flowing tears,
Which in this life are seldom brushed away—
That o'er them all, or 'mid the flickering glow
Of tapers, or in semi-gloom, alike
The coffin with the dead is borne below.
"The Breviary of a Modern Man"