William Rowan Hamilton (1805-1865)

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To Death

(On Hearing of the Illness of E. de V.)

Hast thou then wrapped us in thy shadow, Death!
Already in the very dawn of joy?
And in cold triumph dreamest to destroy
The last and dearest hope which lingereth
Within my desolated heart? to blast
The young unfolding bud? and dash away,
As in some desert-demon's cruel play,
The cup my parch'd lips had begun to taste?
O Impotent! O very Phantom! know,
Bounds are there to thy ravage even here;
Sanctuaries inaccessible to fear
Are in the heart of man while yet below:
Love, not of sense, can wake such communings
As are among the Soul's eternal things.

Spirit of Wisdom and Love

O brooding Spirit of Wisdom and of Love,
Whose mighty wings even now o'ershadow me:
Absorb me in thine own immensity,
And raise me far my finite self above!
Purge vanity away and the weak care
That name or fame of me should widely spread;
And the deep wish keep burning in their stead
Thy blissful influence afar to bear,
Or see it borne! Let no desire of ease,
No lack of courage, faith, or love, delay
My own steps in that high thought-paven way,
In which my soul her clear commission sees:
Yet with an equal joy let me behold
Thy chariot o'er that way by others roll'd.