YOU doubt. And yet, O you who walk your ways,
Glad of your very breath,
Look back upon the days:
Have you not tasted death ?
What of the hour of anguish, overpast,
So fierce, so lone,
That even now the Soul looks back aghast
At sorrow of its own :
The piercèd hands, and stark,
The eyes gone dark ?
You who have known,
And trodden down the fangs of such defeat,
Did you not feel some veil of flesh sore rent, —
Then wonderment ? . . .
Did you not find it sweet
To live, still live, — to see, to breathe again,
Victorious over pain ?
Did you not feel once more, as darkness went,
Upon your forehead, cold with mortal dew,
The daybreak new ? —
And far and new, some eastern breath of air
From that rapt garden where
The lilies stood new-risen, fragranter
Than myrrh ?
“ Death, Death, was this thy sting,
This bitter thing ?
Can it be past?
Only I know there was one agony,
One strait way to pass by, —
A stress that could not last.
And in such conflict, something had to die. . . .
It was not I.”
Josephine Preston Peabody.