Verse > Anthologies > Andrew Macphail, ed. > The Book of Sorrow
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Andrew Macphail, comp.  The Book of Sorrow.  1916.
 
IV. Inevitable
The Hour of Death
By Felicia Dorothea Hemans (1793–1835)
 
  LEAVES have their time to fall,
And flowers to wither at the north wind’s breath,
  And stars to set—but all,
Thou hast all seasons for thine own, O Death!
 
  Day is for mortal care,        5
Eve, for glad meetings round the joyous hearth,
  Night, for the dreams of sleep, the voice of prayer—
But all for thee, thou mightiest of the earth.
 
  The banquet hath its hour,
Its feverish hour, of mirth, and song, and wine;        10
  There comes a day for grief’s o’erwhelming power,
A time for softer tears—but all are thine.
 
  Youth and the opening rose
May look like things too glorious for decay,
  And smile at thee—but thou art not of those        15
That wait the ripen’d bloom to seize their prey….
 
  We know when moons shall wane,
When summer birds from far shall cross the sea,
  When Autumn’s hue shall tinge the golden grain—
But who shall teach us when to look for thee!        20
 
  Is it when Spring’s first gale
Comes forth to whisper where the violets lie?
  Is it when roses in our paths grow pale?—
They have one season—all are ours to die!…
 
  Leaves have their time to fall,        25
And flowers to wither at the north-wind’s breath,
  And stars to set—but all,
Thou hast all seasons for thine own, O Death!
 
 
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