Verse > Anthologies > Andrew Macphail, ed. > The Book of Sorrow
Andrew Macphail, comp.  The Book of Sorrow.  1916.
V. The Sting of Death
‘Timor Mortis conturbat me’
By Sir Noël Paton (1821–1901)
COULD I have sung one Song that should survive
  The singer’s voice, and in my country’s heart
  Find loving echo—evermore a part
Of all her sweetest memories; could I give
One great Thought to the People, that should prove        5
  The spring of noble action in their hour
  Of darkness, or control their headlong power
With the firm reins of Justice and of Love;
Could I have traced one Form that should express
  The sacred mystery that underlies        10
  All Beauty, and through man’s enraptured eyes
Teach him how beautiful is Holiness,—
  I had not feared thee. But to yield my breath,
  Life’s Purpose unfulfilled!—This is thy sting, O Death!

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