And what is Life?—An hour-glass on the run, A Mist retreating from the morning sun, A busy, bustling, still repeated dream; Its length?—A minute’s pause, a moment’s thought; And happiness?—A bubble on the stream, That in the act of seizing shrinks to nought.
Southworth & Hawes, “Classroom in the Emerson School…” (detail) (ca. 1850)
Away! away! for I will fly to thee, Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards, But on the viewless wings of Poesy, Though the dull brain perplexes and retards: Already with thee! tender is the night, And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne, Cluster’d around by all her starry Fays; But here there is no light, Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.
—Keats, Ode to a Nightingale (excerpt)
But when I face the light Somehow it all seems right…