Girl with the Dark Hair


Girl with the dark hair
If you are asleep, be warned:
Half of our life is a dream
Which runs and slips by us,
As rapid in its flight
As a light sleep wakened,
As brief while we are young
As when age is upon us,
For the sad disclosure
Of our fleet career
When it would wake us comes
Late and avails us nothing.
Your youth and beauty are
No more than a new merchant,
Rich to be left poor
By the lapse of time;
A glory of the world
And a veil for the eyes
And chains for the feet
And fetters for the fingers;
A ground for hazards,
A midden of envy,
A butcher of men,
A famous thief of time.
When death has shuffled
Ugly and fair together
In the narrow sepulcher
The bones do not know each other.
And though the cyprus is higher
And the cedar more lovely, neither,
Burned into charcoal, is whiter
Than charcoal from the ash tree.
For in this woeful existence
Delight comes to us in dreams only
And distress and tribulation
When we are widest awake.
Dry autumn will consume
The flower of fresh April,
To unloved ivory
Turning your ebon hair.