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COME, give me back my life again, you heavyhanded Death !
Uncrook your fingers from my throat, and let me draw my breath.
You do me wrong to take me now—too soon for me to die —
Ah, loose me from this clutching pain, and hear the reason why.
I know I ’ve had my forty years, and wasted every one ;
And yet, I tell you honestly, my life is not begun ;
I ’ve walked the world like one asleep, a dreamer in a trance;
But now you ’ve gripped me wide awake — I want another chance.
My dreams were always beautiful, my thoughts were high and fine ;
No life was ever lived on earth to match those dreams of mine.
And would you wreck them unfulfilled? What folly, nay, what crime !
You rob the world, you waste a soul — give me a little time.
You ’ll hear me ? Yes, I ’m sure you will, my hope is not in vain:
I feel the even pulse of peace, the sweet relief from pain ;
The black fog rolls away from me; I ’m free once more to plan:
Another chance is all I need to prove myself a man.
The world is full of warfare ’twixt the evil and the good ;
I watched the battle from afar as one that understood
The shouting and confusion, the bloody, blundering fight —
How few there are that see it clear, how few that wage it right!
The captains flushed with foolish pride, the soldiers pale with fear,
The faltering flags, the feeble fire from ranks that swerve and veer,
The wild mistakes, the dismal doubts, the coward hearts that flee—
The good cause needs a nobler knight to win the victory.