Thomas Lovell Beddoes

(1803-1818 / England)

A Clock Striking Midnight


Hark to the echo of Time’s footsteps; gone
Thise moments are into the unseen grave
Of ages. Thy have vanished nameless. None,
While they are deep under the eddying wave
Of the chaotic past, shall placea stone
Sacred to these, the nurses of the brave,
The mighty, and the good. Futurity
Broods on the ocean, hatching ‘neath her wing
Invisible to man the century,
That on its hundered feet, a sluggish thing
Gnawing away the world, shall totter by
And sweep dead mortals with it. As I sing
Time, the colossus of the world, that strides
With each foot plunged in darkness silent glides,


And puffs death’s cloud upon us. It is vain
To struggle with the tide; we all must sink
Still grasping the thin air, with frantic pain
Grappling with Fame to buoy us. Can we think
Eternity, by whom swift Time is slain,
And dragged along to dark destruction’s brink,
Shall be the echo of man’s puny words?
Or that our grovelling thoughts shall e’er be writ
In never fading stars; or like proud birds
Undazzled in their cloud-built eyrie sit
Clutching the lightning, or in darting herds
Diving amid the sea’s vast treasury flit?
Sink, painted clay, back to thy parent earth
While the glad spirit seeks a brighter birth.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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