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The ancient songs 
Pass deathward mournfully.

Cold lips that sing no more, and withered wreaths,
Regretful eyes, and drooping breasts and wings—
Symbols of ancient songs
Mournfully passing
Down to the great white surges,
Watched of none - -
Save the frail sea-birds
And the lithe pale girls,
Daughters of Okeanos.

And the songs pass 
From the green land 
Which lies upon the waves as a leaf 
On the flowers of hyacinth; 
And they pass from the waters, 
The manifold winds and the dim moon, 
And they come, 
Silently winging through soft Kimmerian dusk, 
To the quiet level lands 
That she keeps for us all, 
That she wrought for us all for sleep 
In the silver days of the earth's dawning—
Proserpine, daughter of Zeus. 

And we turn from the Kuprian's breasts, 
And we turn from thee, 
Phoibos Apollon, 
And we turn from the music of old 
And the hills that we loved and the meads, 
And we turn from the fiery day, 
And the lips that were over-sweet; 
For silently 
Brushing the fields with red-shod feet, 
With purple robe 
Searing the flowers as with a sudden flame, 
Thou hast come upon us.

And of all the ancient songs 
Passing to the swallow-blue halls 
By the dark streams of Persephone, 
This only remains: 
That in the end we turn to thee, 
That we turn to thee, singing 
One last song.

O Death,
Thou art an healing wind
That blowest over white flowers
A-tremble with dew;
Thou art a wind flowing 
Over long leagues of lonely sea; 
Thou art the dusk and the fragrance; 
Thou art the lips of love mournfully smiling; 
Thou art the pale peace of one 
Satiate with old desires; 
Thou art the silence of beauty, 
And we look no more for the morning; 
We yearn no more for the sun, 
Since with thy white hands, 
Thou crownest us with the pallid chaplets, 
The slim colorless poppies 
Which in thy garden alone 
Softly thou gatherest.

And silently; 
And with slow feet approaching; 
And with bowed head and unlit eyes, 
We kneel before thee: 
And thou, leaning towards us, Caressingly layest upon us 
Flowers from thy thin cold hands, 
And, smiling as a chaste woman Knowing love in her heart, 
Thou sealest our eyes 
And the illimitable quietude 
Comes gently upon us.

© William Langland