Meditation on the Longing for Death

Portrait Of A Monk Of The Benedictine Order, Holding A Skull - Anthony van Dyck

Each night I sleep, my body to restore,

Yet morning rise, as weary as before.

The day renewed, such newness life has not:

Each day is with the same despondence fraught.

 –

Down on my knees I pray my daily prayer,

Yet, with it, consolation is but rare.

My faith is threatened at its very root,

And in my heart arises grave dispute.

– 

My duties I perform mechanically,

A mere observance of necessity.

Success comes not with pleasure nor delight,

But only adds unto this wretched plight.

 –

In health or illness, burdens never cease,

In rest or labor, never have I peace.

Alas, this life holds no true joy for me,

But ‘tis a well of parched aridity.

 –

What goodness that there is upon this earth,

Whatever hath true beauty or true worth;

Such things have little joy for me in store,

But only stir a want for something more.

 –

If life holds not for me what my heart craves,

What left is there for me except the grave?

If troubles haunt me at my every breath,

Why should I not desire the sting of death?

 –

Ah, death, thou door to blissful liberty!

To many minds thou art a penalty,

A defect that our nature must endure –

But nay, to me, thou art a needed cure!

 –

A man might think of death and cower in fear:

Yet ‘tis the only thought that gives me cheer.

For death provides for me the sole relief

From all this world of sorrow and of grief.

 –

In death I am released from this dread cage,

And sundry sorrows finally assuaged.

In death my soul at last can fly away

And free itself from life’s monotonous ways.

 –

But lo! For all my grief-filled heart’s desire,

There is a settled time I must expire.

This time alone may I my death expect,

Or death itself will lose its sweet effect.

 –

Till then, I must in waiting persevere,

For not in vain hath Fortune placed me here,

But that I may my duties well perform,

And brave the agitation of the storm.

 –

Unless I do what God hath had in mind,

Then even death itself will not be kind.

Unless I act in concert with God’s grace,

I shall not ever look upon His face.

By The Maestro

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