Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TROPARIAN, by ALEXEY (ALEKSEY) KONSTANTINOVICH TOLSTOY

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

TROPARIAN, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: What joy does earthly life possess
Last Line: Receive him in thy blessed land.
Alternate Author Name(s): Prutkov, Koz'ma Petrovich

WHAT joy does earthly life possess
That hath no part in earthly sorrow?
What joy that proves not false to-morrow?
Where among men is happiness?
Of all that we through toil obtain
Nothing is lasting, all is vain --
What glories on the earth are sure
And steadfast and unchanged endure?
All is but shadow, dream, and sand,
And like a whirlwind blows away,
And face to face with Death we stand
Unarmed in helpless disarray.
The right-hand of the mighty one
Is nothing, naught the king's command --
Lord, now Thy servant's life is done,
Receive him in Thy blessed land.

Death like a warrior hot with pride
Waylaid, and like a robber felled me,
The grave its jaws hath opened wide,
From all that liveth hath withheld me.
Be saved, my children and my kin,
From the grave hear my warning knell,
Brothers and friends, be saved from sin
So you escape the flames of hell.
Life is but vanity throughout
And, at the scent of death's decay,
Like unto flowers we fade away --
Why do we vainly toss about?
The grave is what was once a throne,
Our palaces a heap of sand --
Lord, now Thy servant's life is done,
Receive him in Thy blessed land.

Who midst the bones in rotting heap
Is warrior, judge, or king, or slave?
Who shall be numbered with the sheep,
Who the rejected evil knave?
Where is the silver and the gold,
O Brothers, where the hosts of slaves?
And who among the nameless graves
The rich and poor beneath the mould?
All is but smoke and dust and ash,
A dream, a shade, a phantom flash --
Lord, but in Thy bright Paradise
Our refuge and salvation lies.
All that was flesh beneath the sun
Shall rot, our pomps shall rot in sand --
Lord, now Thy servant's life is done,
Receive him in Thy blessed land.

And Thou who for the world dost weep,
Thou, Advocate of the oppressed,
We cry to Thee, the Holiest,
For him, our brother here asleep.
Pray to Thy God-begotten Son,
Pray, O most pure of womankind,
That now our brother's life is done
He leave his sorrow here behind.
All is but smoke, and dust, and wraith,
O friends, in phantoms put no faith!
When we upon some sudden day
Shall scent the breath of death's decay,
We shall be stricken every one,
Like corn beneath the reaper's hand --
Lord, now Thy servant's life is done,
Receive him in Thy blessed land.

I travel on a road unknown,
Half hopeful, half in fear I go.
My sight is dim, my heart a stone,
My lids are sealed, my hearing slow,
And motionless, bereft of speech,
I cannot hear the brethren wail.
And out of sight and out of reach
The censer's blue and fragrant veil;
But till in endless sleep I fall,
My love shall never pass away,
And by that love I, brethren, pray

That each thus unto God shall call:
Lord, on that day when moon and sun
Shall vanish at the trump's command --
Now that Thy servant's life is done,
Receive him in thy blessed land.

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