This is the night when I must die,
And great Orion walketh high
In silent glory overhead:
He'll set just after I am dead.
A week this night, I'm in my grave:
Orion walketh o'er the wave:
Down in the dark damp earth I lie,
While he doth march in majesty.
A few weeks hence and spring will come;
The earth will bright array put on
Of daisy and of primrose bright,
And everything which loves the light.
And some one to my child will say,
"You'll soon forget that you could play
Beethoven; let us hear a strain
From that slow movement once again."
And so she'll play that melody,
While I among the worms do lie;
Dead to them all, for ever dead;
The churchyard clay dense overhead.
I once did think there might be mine
One friendship perfect and divine;
Alas! that dream dissolved in tears
Before I'd counted twenty years.
For I was ever commonplace;
Of genius never had a trace;
My thoughts the world have never fed,
Mere echoes of the book last read.
Those whom I knew I cannot blame:
If they are cold, I am the same:
How could they ever show to me
More than a common courtesy?
There is no deed which I have done;
There is no love which I have won,
To make them for a moment grieve
That I this night their earth must leave.
Thus, moaning at the break of day,
A man upon his deathbed lay;
A moment more and all was still;
The Morning Star came o'er the hill.
But when the dawn lay on his face,
It kindled an immortal grace;
As if in death that Life were shown
Which lives not in the great alone.
Orion sank down in the west
Just as he sank into his rest;
I closed in solitude his eyes,
And watched him till the sun's uprise.