Stops of Various Quills/Mortality

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Mortality by William Dean Howells
illustrations by Howard Pyle

Howells, Stops of Various Quills, 1895 087 large a.jpg



MORTALITY


HOW many times have I lain down at night,
And longed to fall into that gulf of sleep
Whose dreamless deep
Is haunted by no memory of
The weary world above;
And thought myself most miserable that I
Must impotently lie
So long upon the brink
Without the power to sink
Into that nothingness, and neither feel nor think!

How many times, when day brought back the light
After the merciful oblivion
Of such unbroken slumber,
And once again began to cumber
My soul with her forgotten cares and sorrows,
And show in long perspective the gray morrows,
Stretching monotonously on,
Forever narrowing but never done,
Have I not loathed to live again and said,
It would have been far better to be dead,
And yet somehow, I know not why,
Remained afraid to die!