O, Death! a black and pierceless pall
   Hangs round thee, and the future state;
No eye may see, no mind may grasp
   That mystery of fate.
 
This braid, which now alternate throbs
   With swelling hope and gloomy fear;
This heart, with all the changing hues,  
   That mortal passions bear—
 
This curious frame of human mould,
   Where unrequited cravings play,
This brain, and heart, and wondrous form
   Must all alike decay.
 
The leaping blood will stop its flow;
   The hoarse death-struggle pass; the cheek
Lay bloomless, and the liquid tongue
   Will then forget to speak.
 
The grave will tame me; earth will close
   O’er cold dull limbs and ashy face;
But where, O, Nature, where shall be
   The soul’s abiding place?
 
Will it e’en live? For though its light
   Must shine till from the body town;
Then, when the oil of life is spent,  
   Still shall the taper burn?
 
O, powerless is this struggling brain
   To rend the mighty mystery;
In dark, uncertain awe it waits
   The common doom, to die.

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