“Sonnet,” by Frederick William Harvey
Comrades of risk and rigour long ago
Who have done battle under honour’s name,
Hoped (living or shot down) some meed of fame,
And wooed bright Danger for a thrilling kiss, –
Laugh, oh laugh well, that we have come to this!
Laugh, oh laugh loud, all ye who long ago
Adventure found in gallant company!
Safe in Stagnation, laugh, laugh bitterly.
While on this filthiest backwater of Time’s flow
Drift we and rot, till something set us free!
Laugh like old men with senses atrophied,
Heeding no Present, to the Future dead,
Nodding quite foolish by the warm fireside
And seeing no flame, but only in the red
And flickering embers, pictures of the past : –
Life like a cinder fading black at last.