Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TOWARDS DEMOCRACY: PART 3. THE MORTAL LOVER, by EDWARD CARPENTER



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TOWARDS DEMOCRACY: PART 3. THE MORTAL LOVER, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: This is the little mortal lover in whose heart the low scorching flame
Last Line: Eyes for a glimmer of light, but there is none.
Subject(s): Hearts; Love; Mortality


THIS is the little mortal lover in whose heart the low scorching flame of
rejected love burns night and day, withering all his life.
In vain the great mountains and the sea, in vain the sun in heaven, in vain
all faces offer themselves;
There is no rest: only death and annihilation for every thing that is born;

Only a corpse swinging up-river with the tide among the mud-banks, and
swinging down again with the ebb;
And the tide ebbing and flowing aimlessly for ever in a land where all are
dead.

He lies awake all night and strains his eyes for a glimmer of light, but
there is none;
Every pursuit, every hope, all of life, is a mockery—he has been
gulled into existence.
We have been brought here (he says), a mass of sensitive capacities, to
behold a possible satisfaction—then to be trampled underfoot like worms,
without redemption, never again to know each other or ourselves.
The heart aches and burns in slow torture, the sounds of daily life are a
mockery, the pursuits of men are like the laughter of maniacs playing on the
brink of a precipice.

Millions and millions approach the edge—a vast body always moving on
from behind;
The gulf is measureless in depth, but the young and those who are in the
rear know not of it—they only feel the vast onward movement, and with loud
chants and rollicking songs march gaily confidently on;
Then suddenly those who are older and nearing the edge behold the horrible
and naked truth—they see the avalanche of human beings for ever going over
into the abyss;
With shouts and cries of warning they turn upon those that are behind: but
it is useless, they too are pushed on relentlessly;
Behind is a babel of sounds, cries of Forward, Progress, God, Immortality,
and the like; around are shrieks and despairing threats, curses and plaintive
unheeded warnings; before is the abyss of oblivion,
Into which countless generations before have gone, and we must go;
And this is the hell of existence.

He lies awake all night with pain gnawing at his heart, and strains his
eyes for a glimmer of light, but there is none.





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