That nodded by my head;
A straying butterfly
With wings of purest purple
And purest gold, anon
Gleamed o'er the throng of lines,
Like to a living stanza
Of this harmonious, empassioned poem.
And then my eyes were turned
Below the book across the wall
To the quiet graveyard sleeping in the forest,
And before me, lo, were other
Stanzas eddying onwards,
Of an unbounded epic
So full of grace, of calm, of rest, of sorrow,
So full of concord, full of resignation,
Of that unending poem
Chanted by ruthless Death, — and with a shudder
I quickly closed the book:
The hymn of bliss was hushed before Death's song.
And, as in concord, came the limpid rustle
Of solemn beeches and of silvery birches;
The butterfly was gone; the glowing poppy
As in rebuke, grew still 'mid sultry air
And in the sunlight burned . . .
“Life and death” (1892).