"Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we must be saved by love."
W. H. Auden (1907-73)
That night when joy began Our narrowest veins to flush, We waited for the flash Of morning's levelled gun. But morning let us pass, And day by day relief Outgrows his nervous laugh, Grown credulous of peace, As mile by mile is seen No trespasser's reproach, And love's best glasses reach No fields but are his own. November 1931 ["Five Songs" II --Collected Poems (ed. Mendelson)]
James Joyce (1882-1941)I Hear an Army I hear an army charging upon the land, And the thunder of horses plunging; foam about their knees: Arrogant, in black armour,behind them stand, Disdaining the reins, with fluttering whips, the Charioteers. They cry into the night their battle name: I moan in sleep when I hear afar their whirling laughter. They cleave the gloom of dreams, a blinding flame, Clanging, clanging upon the heart as upon an anvil. They come shaking in triumph their long grey hair: They come out of the sea and run shouting by the shore. My heart, have you no wisdom thus to despair? My love, my love, my love, why have you left me alone? [Des Imagistes, 1914]
William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)The Coming of Wisdom with Time Though leaves are many, the root is one; Through all the lying days of my youth I swayed my leaves and flowers in the sun; Now I may wither into the truth. [(from The Green Helmet and Other Poems)
Intoxicated Under the Shadow of Flowers
The Double Ninth Festival Light mists and heavy clouds, melancholy the long dreary day, In the golden censer the burning incense is dying away. It is again time for the lovely Double Ninth festival; The coolness of midnight penetrates my screen of shear silk and chills my pillow of jade. After drinking wine after twilight under the chrysanthemum hedge, My sleeves are perfumed by the faint fragrance of the plants. Oh, I cannot say it is not enchanting, Only, when the west wind stirs the curtain, I see that I am more gracile than the yellow flowers. (tr. Lucy Chow Ho)