Last Chapter of ‘Ecclesiastes’

 

Remember now thy Maker in thy youth,
While evil days come not, nor years draw nigh,
When thou shalt say, and say in perfect truth,
I have no joy in them, nor wonder why.
While golden sun, or light, or silver moon, or stars,
Not darkened be, nor dimmed, within thy eyes;
While clouds will not return after the showers,
To cast a further shade from gloomy skies.
In the last days when keepers of the house
Shall tremble in despair, and strong men bow
Their bodies to the earth, and they that rouse
To look from windows shall have puzzled brow;
When grinders cease because they number few,
And doors will be fast-closed in the streets;
And on the eyes will dim the distant view,
And no more sound the list’ning ear then greets.
And bird-song, shrill and sweet, will cause him start,
And daughters shall of music be brought low;
When they shall be afraid and shall depart
From what is high, and fear shall with them go;
The almond tree shall flourish in the vale,
But summer will be wearysome, and all
Its tempting sounds in vain, for then will fail
Human desire, and earthly joys will pall.

For man he goeth to his eternal home,
And mourners go about the silent street,
The time of his departure shall have come,
And he will leave the world on unseen feet.
Then then for aye be loosed the silver cord,
And broken be the golden bowl for aye;
The pitcher at the fountain shall be scored,
The cistern wheel be shattered in that day.
Then shall the dust return unto the earth
As once it was or e’er its life began
The spirit shall to Him that gave it birth
Return; so shall it be with every man.

1923