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|The Unexpected Peril|
Unlike the youth that all men say |
They prizeyouth of abounding blood,
In love with the sufficient day,
And gay in growth, and strong in bud;
Unlike was mine! Then my first slumber |
Nightly rehearsed my last; each breath
Knew itself one of the unknown number.
But Life was urgent with me as Death.
My shroud was in the flocks; the hill |
Within its quarry locked my stone;
My bier grew in the woods; and still
Life spurred me where I paused alone.
“Begin!” Life called. Again her shout, |
“Make haste while it is called to-day!”
Her exhortations plucked me out,
Hunted me, turned me, held me at bay.
But if my youth is thus hard pressed |
(I thought) what of a later year?
If the end so threats this tender breast,
What of the days when it draws near?
Draws near, and little done? Yet lo, |
Dread has forborne, and haste lies by.
I was beleaguered; now the foe
Has raised the siege, I know not why.
I see them troop away; I ask |
Were they in sooth mine enemies
Terror, the doubt, the lash, the task?
What heart has my new housemate, Ease?
How am I left, at last, alive, |
To make a stranger of a tear?
What did I do one day to drive
From me the vigilant angel, Fear?
The diligent angel, Labour? Ay, |
The inexorable angel, Pain?
Menace me, lest indeed I die,
Sloth! Turn; crush, teach me fear again!
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Lane Core Jr. (email@example.com)
Created April 9, 2001; not revised.