Sic Transit Gloria Mundi

Don Marquis

Conquerors leonine, lordly,
  Princes and vaunting kings,
Ye are drunk with the sound of your braggart
  But lo! ye are little things!

Earth . . . it is charnel with monarchs!
  And the puffs of dust that start
Where your war steeds stamp with their ringing hoofs
  Were each some warrior’s heart.

Peoples imperial, mighty,
  Masterful, challenging fate,
The tread of your cohorts shakes the hills—
  But lo! ye are not great!

Nations that swarm and murmur,
  Ye are moths that flutter and climb—
Ye are whirling gnats, ye are swirling bees,
  Tossed in the winds of time!

Earth that is flushed with glory,
  A marvelous world ye are!
But lo! in the midst of a million stars
  Ye are only one pale star!

A breath stirs the dark abysses. . . .
  The deeps below the deep
Are troubled and vexed . . . and a thousand worlds
  Fall on eternal sleep!

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