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Littell's Living Age/Volume 130/Issue 1673/A Ballad of Past Meridian

< Littell's Living Age‎ | Volume 130‎ | Issue 1673

A BALLAD OF PAST MERIDIAN.
I.

One night returning from my twilight walk
I met the grey mist Death, whose eyeless brow
Was bent on me, and from his hand of chalk
He reached me flowers as from a withered bough:
O Death, what bitter nosegays givest thou!

II.

Death said, "I gather," and pursued his way.
Another stood by me, a shape in stone,
Sword-hacked and iron-stained, with breasts of clay,
And metal veins that sometimes fiery shone:
O Life, how naked and how hard when known!

III.

Life said, "As thou hast carved me," such am I.
Then memory, like the nightjar on the pine,
And sightless hope, a woodlark in night sky,
Joined notes of Death and Life till night's decline
Of Death, of Life, those inwound notes are mine.

George Meredith
Fortnightly Review.