I know, I know. Enough with the poetry already. One last poem and I’m done for awhile. Probably. I found this in a review written by Ambrose Bierce, who is one of my all-time favorite American authors, right up there with Poe. It was written by Alfred Austin, who succeeded Tennyson as Poet Laureate (in part because Swinburne was deemed “impossible,” being as Bierce said “Swinburne would very likely have knocked off the Prime Minister’s hat and jumped upon it”). I was startled to find such a bold and beautiful sentiment embodied in such a wonderful sonnet by an otherwise forgettable poet. I have for some time thought that the reasoning Austin presents is the strongest argument for suicide—not that one needs or, indeed, would likely resort to, argument—of the literal as well as more metaphorical varieties. It pleases me greatly to find it so well expressed:

Love’s Wisdom

Now on the summit of Love’s topmost peak
   Kiss we and part; no further can we go;
   And better death than we from high to low
Should dwindle, and decline from strong to weak.
We have found all, there is no more to seek;
   All we have proved, no more is there to know;
And Time can only tutor us to eke
   Out rapture’s warmth with custom’s afterglow.
We cannot keep at such a height as this;
   For even straining souls like ours inhale
But once in life so rarified a bliss.
   What if we lingered till love’s breath should fail!
Heaven of my earth! one more celestial kiss,
   Then down by separate pathways to the vale.

[No worries, folks, I’m nowhere near the peak.]

NP: Gene, Truth, Rest Your Head