Terrible Clock! God without mercy; mighty Power!
Saying all day, “Remember! Remember and beware:
There is no arrow of pain but in a tiny hour
Will make thy heart its target, and stick and vibrate there.
“Toward the horizon all too soon and out of sight
Vaporous Pleasure, like a sylphide, floats away;
Each instant swallows up one crumb of that delight
Accorded to each man for all his mortal day.”
The Second says, three thousand six hundred times an hour,
“Remember! Look, the wingèd insect Now doth sit
Upon thy vein, and shrilleth, ‘I am Nevermore,
And I have sucked thy blood; I am flying away with it!’
“Remember! Souviens-toi! Esto memor! — no tongue
My metal larynx does not speak — O frivolous man,
These minutes, rich in gold, slide past; thou art not young;
Remember! and wash well the gravel in the pan!
“Remember! Time, the player that need not cheat to win,
Makes a strong adversary. Is thy game begun?
Thy game is lost! Day wanes; night waxes. Look within
The gulf, — it still is thirsty. The sands are all but run.
“Soon, soon, the hour will strike, when Hazard, he that showed
A god-like face, when Virtue — thy bride, but still intact —
When even Repentance (oh, last inn along the road!)
Will say to thee, ‘Die, coward. It is too late to act.’”
Flowers of Evil (NY: Harper and Brothers, 1936)
© RuMoHoR 2001—2014