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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
The Cloud Confines
By Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828–1882)
 
THE DAY is dark and the night
  To him that would search their heart;
  No lips of cloud that will part,
Nor morning song in the light:
  Only, gazing alone,        5
  To him wild shadows are shown,
  Deep under deep unknown
And height above unknown height.
      Still we say as we go,—
        “Strange to think by the way,        10
      Whatever there is to know,
        That shall we know one day.”
 
The Past is over and fled;
  Named new, we name it the old:
  Thereof some tale hath been told,        15
But no word comes from the dead;
  Whether at all they be,
  Or whether as bond or free,
  Or whether they too were we,
Or by what spell they have sped.        20
      Still we say as we go,—
        “Strange to think by the way,
      Whatever there is to know,
        That shall we know one day.”
 
What of the heart of hate        25
  That beats in thy breast, O Time?—
  Red strife from the furthest prime,
And anguish of fierce debate;
  War that shatters her slain,
  And peace that grinds them as grain,        30
  And eyes fixed ever in vain
On the pitiless eyes of Fate.
      Still we say as we go,—
        “Strange to think by the way,
      Whatever there is to know,        35
        That shall we know one day.”
 
What of the heart of love
  That bleeds in thy breast, O Man?—
  Thy kisses snatched ’neath the ban
Of fangs that mock them above;        40
  Thy bells prolonged unto knells,
  Thy hope that a breath dispels,
  Thy bitter forlorn farewells
And the empty echoes thereof?
      Still we say as we go,—        45
        “Strange to think by the way,
      Whatever there is to know,
        That shall we know one day.”
 
The sky leans dumb on the sea,
  Aweary with all its wings;        50
  And oh! the song the sea sings
Is dark everlastingly.
  Our past is clean forgot,
  Our present is and is not,
  Our future’s a sealed seed-plot,        55
And what betwixt them are we?
      We who say as we go,—
        “Strange to think by the way,
      Whatever there is to know,
        That shall we know one day.”        60
 
 
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