Soliloquy for a Third Act

What is this sullen curious interval
Between the happy Thought, the languid Act?
What is this dull paralysis of Will
That lets the fatal days drift by like dreams?
Of the mind's dozing splendours what remains?
What is this Now I utter to you here?

This Now, for great men dead, was golden Future;
For happier souls to come, conjectured Past.
Men love and praise the Past — the only thing
In all the great commodity of life
That grows and grows, shining and heaping up
And endlessly compounds beneath their hands:
Richer we are in Time with every hour,
But in nought else. — The Past! I love the Past —
Stand off, O Future, keep away from me!

Yet some there are, great thoughtless active souls,
Can use the volvant circle of the year
Like a child's hoop, and flog it gleefully
Along the downward slope of busy days;
But some, less lucky.
What wretch invented Time and calendars
To torture his weak wits, to probe himself
As a man tongues a tender concave tooth?
See, all men bear this secret cicatrix,
This navel mark where we were ligatured
To great Eternity; and so they have
This knot of Time-sense in their angry hearts.

So must I die and pass to Timeless nothing?
It will not, shall not, cannot, must not be!
I'll print such absolute identity
Upon these troubled words, that finding them
In some old broken book (long, long away),
The startled reader cries, Here was a Voice
That had a meaning, and outrode the years!
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