I shall not sprinkle with dust
A creature so clearly lunar;
You must die—but of course you must—
And better later than sooner.
But if it should be in a year
That year itself must perish;
How dingy a thing is fear,
And sorrow, how dull to cherish!
And if it should be in a day
That day would be dark by evening,
But the morning might still be gay
And the moon have golden leavening.
And beauty’s a moonlight grist
That comes to the mills of dying;
The silver grain may be missed
But there’s no great good in crying.
Though luminous things are mould
They survive in a glance that crossed them,
And it’s not very kind to scold
The empty air that has lost them.
The limpid blossom of youth
Turns into a poison berry;
Having perceived this truth
I shall not weep but be merry.
Therefore die when you please;
It’s not very wise to worry;
I shall not shiver and freeze;
I shall not even be sorry.
Beautiful things are wild;
They are gone, and you go after;
Therefore I mean, my child,
To charm your going with laughter.
Love and pity are strong,
But wisdom is happily greater;
You will die, I suppose, before long,
Oh, worser sooner than later!