Vanitas by Jane Francesca Agnes (Elgee) Wilde

The glory of Life is fleeting;
Its splendour passeth away,
As the tints and odours meeting
In the flowers we twined to‐day.

How brightly, in varied light,
They reflected the morning sun;
But the chilling dews of the night
Withered them one by one.

So the stream of Existence floweth
O’er the golden sands of youth,
In the light of a joy that gloweth
From the depths of its love and truth.

But heavy, and cold, and fast,
The gathering clouds uprise,
Eclipsing the light, which cast
On the waters a thousand dyes.

And onward, in sullen endeavour,
Like a stream in a sunless cave,
It floweth in darkness ever:
Yet—could we thus reach the grave!

But we wake to a sorrow deeper—
The knowledge of all we have lost;
And the light grows fainter and weaker
As we’re borne from youth’s sunny coast.

Yet onward with drifting motion,
Still farther from life and light;
Around us a desert Ocean—
Above us eternal Night.

From: Wilde, Lady, Poems. The Brothers. A Scene from ’98, 1871, Cameron & Ferguson: Glasgow, pp. 80-81.
(http://webapp1.dlib.indiana.edu/vwwp/view?docId=VAB7166&chunk.id=d1e1203&brand=vwwp&doc.view=0&anchor.id=#VAB7166-083)

Date: 1871

By: Jane Francesca Agnes (Elgee) Wilde (1821-1896)

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