Mimnermus in Church

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Mimnermus in Church
by William Johnson Cory

 
You promise heavens free from strife,
  Pure truth, and perfect change of will;
But sweet, sweet is this human life,
  So sweet, I fain would breathe it still;
Your chilly stars I can forgo,
This warm kind world is all I know.

You say there is no substance here,
  One great reality above:
Back from that void I shrink in fear,
  And child-like hide myself in love:
Show me what angels feel. Till then
I cling, a mere weak man, to men.
  
You bid me lift my mean desires
  From faltering lips and fitful veins
To sexless souls, ideal quires,
  Unwearied voices, wordless strains:
My mind with fonder welcome owns
One dear dead friend's remember'd tones.
  
Forsooth the present we must give
  To that which cannot pass away;
All beauteous things for which we live
  By laws of time and space decay.
But O, the very reason why
I clasp them, is because they die.

This work was published before January 1, 1926, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.