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