Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
 
Death As the Fool
 
Frank T. Marzials (b. 1840)
 
 
IN the high turret chamber sat the sage,
Striving to wring its secret from the scroll
Of time;—and hard the task, for roll on roll
Was blurred with blood and tears, or black with age.
So that at last a hunger seized him, a rage        5
Of richer lore than our poor life can dole,
And loud he called on Death to dower his soul
With the great past’s unrifled heritage.
And lo, a creaking step upon the stair,
A croak of song, a jingle,—and Death came in        10
Mumming in motley with a merry din
And jangle of bells, and droning this refrain,
“God help the fools who count on death for gain.”
So had the sage death-bell and passing-prayer.
 

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