Each, in himself, his hour to be and cease 1
Endures alone, yet few there be who dare 2
Sole with himself his single burden bear,3
All the long day until the night’s release.4
Yet, ere the night fall, and the shadows close,5
This labour of himself is each man’s lot ;6
All a man hath, yet living, is forgot,7
Himself he leaves behind him when he goes.8
If he have any valiancy within,9
If he have made his life his very own,10
If he have loved and laboured, and have known 11
A strenuous virtue, and the joy of sin ;12
Then, being dead, he has not lived in vain,13
For he has saved what most desire to lose,14
And he has chosen what the few must choose,15
Since life, once lived, returns no more again.16
For of our time we lose so large a part17
In serious trifles, and so oft let slip 18
The wine of every moment at the lip 19
Its moment, and the moment of the heart.20
We are awake so little on the earth,21
And we shall sleep so long, and rise so late,22
If there is any knocking at that gate 23
Which is the gate of death, the gate of birth.24