Man’s Anxious, But Ineffectual, Guard Against Death

Luckless man
Avoids the miserable bodkin’s point,
And, flinching from the insect’s little sting,
In pitiful security keeps watch,
While ‘twixt him and that hypocrite the sun,
To which he prays, comes windless pestilence,
Transparent as a glass of poisoned water
Through which the drinker sees his murderer smiling;
She stirs no dust, and makes no grass to nod,
Yet every footstep is a thousand graves,
And every breath of her’s as full of ghosts
As a sunbeam with motes.


[Kelsall, 1851]