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Wilfrid Scawen Blunt (1840-1922)

On the Shortness of Time


              1If I could live without the thought of death,
              2Forgetful of time's waste, the soul's decay,
              3I would not ask for other joy than breath,
              4With light and sound of birds and the sun's ray.
              5I could sit on untroubled day by day
              6Watching the grass grow, and the wild flowers range
              7From blue to yellow and from red to grey
              8In natural sequence as the seasons change.
              9I could afford to wait, but for the hurt
            10Of this dull tick of time which chides my ear.
            11But now I dare not sit with loins ungirt
            12And staff unlifted, for death stands too near.
            13I must be up and doing -- ay, each minute.
            14The grave gives time for rest when we are in it.


Online text copyright © 2005, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Wilfrid Scawen Blunt, "The Love Sonnets of Proteus," "Part IV. -- Vita Nova," (The Love Sonnets of Proteus), Poems (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1923): 87. PR 4149 B8A17
First publication date: 1881
Publication date note: The Love Songs of Proteus (London: Kegan Paul, 1881): 103. PR 4149 B8L6 1881 Robarts Library
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2005
Recent editing: 1:2005/2/17

Form: sonnet
Rhyme: ababbcbcdedeff


Other poems by Wilfrid Scawen Blunt