(Deathless Death)

At eve when the brief wintry day is sped,
I muse beside my fire's faint-flickering glare-
Conscious of wrinkling face and whitening hair-
Of those who, dying young, inherited
The immortal youthfulness of the early dead.
I think of Raphael's grand-seigneurial air;
Of Shelley and Keats, with laurels fresh and fair
Shining unwithered on each sacred head;
And soldier boys who snatched death's starry prize,
With sweet life radiant in their fearless eyes,
The dreams of love upon their beardless lips,
Bartering dull age for immortality;
Their memories hold in death's unyielding fee
The youth that thrilled them to the finger-tips.

More verses by John Hay