Mimnermus in Church
     William (Johnson) Cory (1823-1892)

You promise heavens free from strife,
   Pure truth, and perfect change of will;
But sweet, sweet is this human life,
   So sweet, I fain would breathe it still;
Your chilly stars I can forgo,
This warm kind world is all I know.

You say there is no substance here,
   One great reality above:
Back from that void I shrink in fear,
   And child-like hide myself in love:
Show me what angels feel. Till then,
I cling, a mere weak man, to men.

You bid me lift my mean desires
   From faltering lips and fitful veins
To sexless souls, ideal quires,
   Unwearied voices, wordless strains:
My mind with fonder welcome owns
One dear dead friend's remembered tones.

Forsooth the present we must give
   To that which cannot pass away;
All beauteous things for which we live
   By law of time and space decay.
But oh, the very reason why
I clasp them, is because I die.