Inquiry, An

A Phantasy

Circumdederunt me dolores mortis. — Ps. xviii
I said to It: " We grasp not what you meant,
(Dwelling down here, so narrowly pinched and pent)
By crowning Death the King of the Firmament:
— The query I admit to be
One of unwonted size,
But it is put you sorrowingly,
And not in idle-wise."

" Sooth, since you ask me gravely," It replied,
" Though too incisive questions I have decried,
This shows some thought, and may be justified.
I'll gauge its value as I go
Across the Universe
And bear me back in a moment or so
And say, for better or worse."

Many years later, when It came again,
" That matter an instant back which brought you pain,"
It said, " and you besought me to explain.
Well, my forethoughtless modes to you
May seem a shameful thing,
But — I'd no meaning, that I knew,
In crowning Death as King!"
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