Life and Death

Charles Harpur

A LITTLE light, heat, motion, breath;
Then silence, darkness, and decay;
This is the change from life to death
    In him the weareth clay.
But Time’s one drop ’twixt that and this,
Ah! What a gulf of doom it is.

The cheek is fair, the eye is bold,
The ripe lip like a berry red;
Then the shroud clothes them;—thus behold
    The living and the dead!
And how time’s last cold drop serence
Swells to eternity between.

Yet not for horror, nor to weep;
But through the solemn dark to see
That life, though swift, is wonder-deep,
    And death the only key
That lets to that mysterious height
Where earth and heaven in God unite.

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