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The Bird of Time/Songs of Life/Death and Life

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Death and Life

Death stroked my hair and whispered tenderly:
"Poor child, shall I redeem thee from thy pain,
Renew thy joy and issue thee again
Inclosed in some renascent ecstasy . . .
Some lilting bird or lotus-loving bee,
Or the diaphanous silver of the rain,
Th' alluring scent of the sirisha-plain,
The wild wind's voice, the white wave's melody?"

I said, "Thy gentle pity shames mine ear,
O Death, am I so purposeless a thing,
Shall my soul falter or my body fear
Its poignant hour of bitter suffering,
Or fail ere I achieve my destined deed
Of song or service for my country's need?"