As a desolate bird that through darkness its lost way is winging,
As a hand that is helplessly raised when Death’s sickle is swinging,
So is life! ay, the life that lends passion and breath to my singing.
As the nightingale’s song that is full of a sweetness unspoken,
As a spirit unbarring the gates of the skies for a token,
So is love! ay, the love that shall fall when his pinion is broken.
As the tramp of the legions when trumpets their challenge are sending,
As the shout of the Storm-god when lightnings the black sky are rending,
So is power! ay, the power that shall lie in the dust at its ending.
So short is our life; yet with space for all things to forsake us,
A bitter delusion, a dream from which nought can awake us,
Till Death’s dogging footsteps at morn or at eve shall o’ertake us.
Oh, the world is fair at the dawning—dawning—dawning,
But the red sun sinks in blood—the red sun sinks in blood."
CHAPTER XV SORAIS’ SONG, Allan Quartermain