A Human Skull
A human skull! I bought it passing cheap,—
Indeed ’twas dearer to its first employer!
I thought mortality did well to keep
Some mute memento of the old destroyer.
It is a ghostly monitor, and most
Experienced our wasting sand in summing;
It is a grave domestic finger-post
That warning points the way to kingdom—coming
Time was, some may have prized its blooming skin;
Here lips were woo’d, perhaps, in transport tender;
Some may have chuck’d what was a dimpled chin,
And never had my doubt about its gender!
Did she live yesterday or ages back?
What colour were the eyes when bright and waking?
And were your ringlets fair, or brown, or black,
Poor little head! that long has done with aching?
It may have held (to shoot some random shots)
Thy brains, Eliza Fry, or Baron Byron’s;
The wits of Nelly Gwynn, or Dr. Watts,—
Two quoted bards! two philanthropic syrens!
But this I surely knew before I closed
The bargain on the morning that I bought it;
It was not half so bad as some supposed,
Nor quite as good as many may have thought it
Who love, can need no special type of death;
Death steals his icy hand where Love reposes
Alas for love, alas for fleeting breath,
Immortelles bloom with Beauty’s bridal roses.
O, true love mine, what lines of care are these?
The heart still lingers with its golden hours,
But fading tints are on the chestnut trees,
And where is all that lavish wealth of flowers?
The end is near. Life lacks what once it gave,
Yet death has promises that call for praises;
A very worthless rogue may dig the grave,
But hands unseen will dress the turf with daisies