When life as opening buds is sweet
And golden hopes the fancy greet
And Youth prepares his joys to meet ..
.. Alas! how hard it is to die!
When just is seized some valued prize
And duties press, and tender ties
Forbid the soul from earth to rise ..
.. How awful then it is to die!
When, one by one, those ties are torn,
And friend from friend is snatched forlorn
And man is left alone to mourn ..
.. Ah then, how easy ’tis to die!
When faith is firm, and conscience clear
And words of peace the spirit cheer
And visioned glories half appear ..
.. ‘Tis joy, ’tis triumph then to die.
When trembling limbs refuse their weight
And films, slow gathering, dim the sight
And clouds obscure the mental light ..
.. Tis nature’s precious boon to die.
– W.H. Auden