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Life and Death

By Ellis J. Wynne

    Life is a desert drear,
    A sandy plain ;
    A waste, a wild career
    For phantom forms of Fear,
    Sorrow and Pain.
    No guide hath man, no guide—
    Self must on self confide ;
    No hand to lead him on,
    No hope to rest upon—
    Nought but the grave !
Man veils his eyes, and lo, blind Phantasy
Sits at her loom and weaves a sacred mystery,
A magic woof of dreams—glad dreams of liberty—
    To mock a slave !

    And Death ? Ah Death’s a sage
    Who stills our fears ;
    Our doubts and faiths engage
    The wisdom of his age—
    And eke our tears.


                        266 Life and Death
    Hushed in expectancy
    We stake life’s paltry fee ;
    A last-drawn sigh, a sleep,
    And Death calls ” Laugh,” or “Weep,”—
    ‘Tis then we know
Thy form aright, O Master ! from the guise
Of Life’s prim pageant, Thee, with unsealed eyes—
Sum of our hopes or fears—we recognise
    For weal or woe !

MLA citation:

Wynne, Ellis J. “Life and Death.” The Yellow Book, vol. 7, October 1895, pp. 265-266. Yellow Book Digital Edition, edited by Dennis Denisoff and Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, 2010-2014. Yellow Nineties 2.0, Ryerson University Centre for Digital Humanities, 2020.