Verse > Anthologies > Andrew Macphail, ed. > The Book of Sorrow
Andrew Macphail, comp.  The Book of Sorrow.  1916.
XVIII. The Great Mystery
The Thought of Death
By John Addington Symonds (1840–1893)

NAY, Death, thou art a shadow! Even as light
  Is but the shadow of invisible God,
  And of that shade the shadow is thin Night,
  Veiling the earth whereon our feet have trod;
So art Thou but the shadow of this life,        5
  Itself the pale and unsubstantial shade
  Of living God, fulfilled by love and strife
  Throughout the universe Himself hath made:
And as frail Night, following the flight of earth,
  Obscures the world we breathe in, for a while,        10
  So Thou, the reflex of our mortal birth,
  Veilest the life wherein we weep and smile:
    But when both earth and life are whirl’d away,
    What shade can shroud us from God’s deathless day?

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