Anna Laetitia Barbauld

(20 June 1743 – 9 March 1825 / Leicestershire, England)

Eternity - Poem by Anna Laetitia Barbauld

--- The year has run
Its round of seasons, has fulfilled its course,
Absolved its destined period, and is borne,
Silent and swift, to that devouring gulf,
Their womb and grave, where seasons, months and years,
Revolving periods of uncounted time,
All merge, and are forgotten.—Thou alone,
In thy deep bosom burying all the past,
Still art; and still from thine exhaustless store
New periods spring, Eternity.—Thy name
Or glad, or fearful, we pronounce, as thoughts
Wandering in darkness shape thee. Thou strange being,
Which art and must be, yet which contradict'st
All sense, all reasoning,—thou, who never wast
Less than thyself, and who still art thyself
Entire, though the deep draught which Time has taken
Equals thy present store—No line can reach
To thy unfathomed depths. The reasoning sage
Who can dissect a sunbeam, count the stars,
And measure distant worlds, is here a child,
And, humbled, drops his calculating pen.
On and still onward flows the ceaseless tide,
And wrecks of empires and of worlds are borne
Like atoms on its bosom.—Still thou art
And he who does inhabit thee.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, September 6, 2010

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