I Ask

My happy lime is gold with flowers;
From noon to noon the breezes blow
Their love pipes; and the wild bees beat
Their drums, and sack the blossom bowers. . . .
Yet, stifling in the valley heat
A woman's dying there below!

Between the blowing rose so red
And honey-saffroned lily cup,
Receiving heaven, so I lie. . . .
But down the field a calf lies dead;
At this same burning summer sky
Its velvet darkened eye looks up.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Behind the fairest masks of life
Dwells ever that pale constant death.
Philosophers! What shall we say?
Must we keep wistful death to wife?
Or hide her image quite away,
And, wanton, draw forgetful breath?
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