Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, OBLIVION (TO ALAN PORTER), by WILLIAM FORCE STEAD

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

OBLIVION (TO ALAN PORTER), by             Poet's Biography
First Line: As if the dead had sought to reach
Last Line: Nay, tell me, -- were they ever born?

AS if the dead had sought to reach
Us through the names they used to know,
They carved these rain-bleared stones to teach
What men were they, laid here a-row:
But now hath time twice marred their speech,
The stones are dumb as they below.

Yet I surmise they rose at break
Of dawn, and trudged afield, and then
Laboured with ox and ass to take
Bread for the hungry world of men,
Sweating at plough and spade and rake
Till dusk, for three-score years and ten.

Ever they rose at brink of day,
Yet drank they once the joy of morn? --
Life from them turned its mind away,
They were not even thought forlorn:

Falstaff can never die, -- but they,
Nay, tell me, -- were they ever born?

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