Verse > Anthologies > Andrew Macphail, ed. > The Book of Sorrow
Andrew Macphail, comp.  The Book of Sorrow.  1916.
XII. Love and Death
‘Who shall go first’
WHO shall go first to the shadowy land,
          My love or I?
Whose will it be in grief to stand
And press the cold, unanswering hand,
Wipe from the brow the dew of death,        5
And catch the softly fluttering breath,
Breathe the loved name nor hear reply,
In anguish watch the glazing eye—
          His or mine?
Which shall bend o’er the wounded sod,        10
          My love or I?
Commending the precious soul to God,
Till the doleful fall of the muffled clod
Startles the mind to a consciousness
Of its bitter anguish and life-distress,        15
Dropping the pall o’er the love-lit past
With a mournful murmur, ‘The last, the last’—
          My love or I?
Which shall return to the desolate home,
          My love or I?        20
And list for a step that shall never come,
And hark for a voice that must still be dumb,
While the half-stunned senses wander back
To the cheerless life and thorny track,
Where the silent room and the vacant chair        25
Have memories sweet and hard to bear—
          My love or I?…

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