There are some names that beg us ask why they
Who lived so much, and gave us such great art
Died so young. Some say it is the way
Of candlesticks; one instant bright--then dark.
They say such souls, thus flaming, burnt their shells
Leaving us but remnants of that flame:
A smoke-enveloped room; some wax that fell--
These things are ours: such little, sad remains!
When I think what they made, with so few days;
How we can smell the smoke and feel wax still
A hundred years from when their fires blazed
I wonder at their genius and their skill--
And I wonder at what these claims profess:
That if they had lived more, we would have less.
There are some names, some souls that will remain
Forever etched on human memory--
Some names, when said, a sorrowed sign contain
As we recall their lives: so bright and free
But far too short a time for them to live.
We wonder, if they'd not so quickly gone
What they would make; what won'drous art they'd give
To us, who have subsisted for so long
On but a portion of their works--the best
Or worst, we'll never know; if with more years
They might have triumphed over youthful zest
And settled into wiser thoughts and fears--
But no. They lived, and wrote, and died too young
No-one can say what they might have become.