Joseph Noel Paton (1821-1901)

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"Timor Mortis conturbat me"

Could I have sung one Song that should survive
The singer's voice, and in my country's heart
Find loving echo--evermore a part
Of all her sweetest memories; could I give
One great Thought to the People, that should prove
The spring of noble action in their hour
Of darkness, or control their headlong power
With the firm reins of Justice and of Love;
Could I have traced one Form that should express
The sacred mystery that underlies
All Beauty, and through man's enraptured eyes
Teach him how beautiful is Holiness,--
I had not feared thee. But to yield my breath,
Life's Purpose unfulfilled!--This is thy sting, O Death!

(Text from The Book of Sorrow)