This short poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson almost always accompanies its more optimistic incarnation, Nothing Will Die. It first appeared in 1830 as part of a collection of his poetry called Juvenilia, and provides a darker, more pessimistic slant on the theme than does the preceeding poem.

Clearly the blue river chimes in its flowing
    Under my eye;
Warmly and broadly the south winds are blowing
    Over the sky.
One after another the white clouds are fleeting;
Every heart this May morning in joyance is beating
    Full merrily;
    Yet all things must die.
The stream will cease to flow;
The wind will cease to blow;
The clouds will cease to fleet;
The heart will cease to beat;
    For all things must die.
    All things must die.
Spring will come never more.
    O, vanity!
Death waits at the door.
See! our friends are all forsaking
The wine and the merrymaking.
We are call’d we must go.
Laid low, very low,
In the dark we must lie.
The merry glees are still;
The voice of the bird
Shall no more be heard,
Nor the wind on the hill.
    O, misery!
Hark! death is calling
While I speak to ye,
The jaw is falling,
The red cheek paling,
The strong limbs failing;
Ice with the warm blood mixing;
The eyeballs fixing.
Nine times goes the passing bell:
Ye merry souls, farewell.
    The old earth
    Had a birth,
    As all men know,
    Long ago.
And the old earth must die.
So let the warm winds range,
And the blue wave beat the shore;
For even and morn
Ye will never see
Thro’ eternity.
All things were born.
Ye will come never more,
For all things must die.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.