Love and Death.

By thy birth, so oft renew’d
From the embers long subdued ;
By the life-gift in thy chain,
Broken Jinks to weave again ;
By thine Infinite of woe,
All we know not, all we know ;
If there be what dieth not,
Thine, Affection ! is its lot !
Mighty ones, Love and Death !1
Ye are the strong in this world of ours,2
Ye meet at the banquets, ye strive midst the flow’r3
—Which hath the Conqueror’s wreath ?4
Thou art the victor, Love !5
Thou art the peerless, the crown’d, the free6
The strength of the battle is given to thee,7
The spirit from above.8
Thou hast look’d on death and smiled !9
Thou hast buoy’d up the fragile and reed-like form10
Through the tide of the fight, through the rush of the storm,11
On field, and flood, and wild.12
Thou hast stood on the scaffold alone :13
Thou hast watch’d by the wheel through the torturer’s hour,14
And girt thy soul with a martyr’s power,15
Till the conflict hath been won.16
No—thou art the victor, Death !17
Thou comest—and where is that which spoke18
From the depths of the eye, when the bright soul woke ?19
—Gone with the flitting breath !20
Thou comest—and what is left21
Of all that loved us, to say if aught22
Yet loves, yet answers the burning thought23
Of the spirit lorn and reft ?24
Silence is where thou art !25
Silently thou must kindred meet ;26
No glance to cheer, and no voice to greet ;27
No bounding of heart to heart !28
Boast not thy victory, Death !29
It is but as the cloud’s o’er the sunbeam’s power30
It is but as the winter’s o’er leaf and flower,31
That slumber, the snow beneath.32
It is but as a tyrant’s reign33
O’er the look and the voice, which he bids be still :34
—But the sleepless thought and the fiery will35
Are not for him to chain.36
They shall soar his might above !37
And so with the root whence affection springs,38
Though buried, it is not of mortal things39
Thou art the victor, Love !40