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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Edward Robert Bulwer-Lytton, 1st earl of Lytton 1831–91

The Utmost


SOME clerks aver that as the tree doth fall

Even forever so that tree shall lie,

And that Death’s act doth make perpetual

The last state of the souls of men that die.

If this be so,—if this, indeed, were sure,

Then not a moment longer would I live;

Who, being now as I would fain endure,

If man’s last state doth his last hour survive,

Should be among the blessed souls? I fear

Life’s many changes, not Death’s changelessness.

So perfect is this moment’s passing cheer,

I needs must tremble lest it pass to less.

Thus but in fickle love of life I live,

Lest fickle life me of my love deprive.