Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
 
Extracts from Ionica: Mimnermus in Church
By William Johnson Cory (1823–1892)
 
YOU promise heavens free from strife,
  Pure truth, and perfect change of will;
But sweet, sweet is this human life,
  So sweet, I fain would breathe it still;
Your chilly stars I can forgo,        5
This warm kind world is all I know.
 
You say there is no substance here,
  One great reality above:
Back from that void I shrink in fear,
  And child-like hide myself in love:        10
Show me what angels feel. Till then,
I cling, a mere weak man, to men.
 
You bid me lift my mean desires
  From faltering lips and fitful veins
To sexless souls, ideal quires,        15
  Unwearied voices, wordless strains:
My mind with fonder welcome owns
One dear dead friend’s remembered tones.
 
Forsooth the present we must give
  To that which cannot pass away;        20
All beauteous things for which we live
  By laws of time and space decay;
But oh, the very reason why
I clasp them, is because they die.
 
 
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