Alone! Alone! No beacon, far or near!
No chart, no compass, and no anchor stay!
Like melting fog the mirage melts away
In all-surrounding darkness, void and clear.
Drifting, I spread vain hands, and vainly peer
And vainly call for pilot, — weep and pray;
Beyond these limits not the faintest ray
Shows distant coast whereto the lost may steer.
O what is life, if we must hold it thus
As wind-blown sparks hold momentary fire?
What are these gifts without the larger boon?
O what is art, or wealth, or fame to us
Who scarce have time to know what we desire?
O what is love, if we must part so soon?