By chance my fingers, resting on my face,
Stayed suddenly where in its orbit shone
The lamp of all things beautiful; then on,
Following more heedfully, did softly trace
Each arch and prominence and hollow place
That shall revealed be when all else is gone—
Warmth, colour, roundness—to oblivion,
And nothing left but darkness and disgrace.

Life like a moment passed seemed then to be;
A transient dream this raiment that it wore;
While spelled my hand out its mortality,
Made certain all that had seemed doubt before:
Proved—O how vaguely, yet how lucidly!—
How much death does: and yet can do no more.
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