Henry Jerome Stockard

The Closing Century

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AS one who, roused from sleep, hears far away
The closing strokes of some cathedral bell
Tolling the hour, strives all in vain to tell
If denser grows the night, or pales the day —
So we, roused to life’s brief existence, say
(We on whose waking falls a century’s knell),
is this the deepening dusk of years, the fell
And solemn midnight, or the morning gray?
We stir, then sleep again — a little sleep!
(Howbeit undisturbed by another’s ring!)
For though, measured with time, a century
Is but a vanished hour tolled on the deep,
Yet what is time itself? ‘T is but a swing
Of the vast pendulum of eternity.

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Henry Jerome Stockard