Dowson's 'Vitae Summa Brevis' | Harper's Magazine

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Dowson’s ‘Vitae Summa Brevis’


They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate:
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.

They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.

Ernest Dowson, Vitae summa brevis spem nos vetat incohare longam (1896) first published in The Poems and Prose of Ernest Dowson (1900)(The title is from an ode by Horace, “The brief sum of life denies us the hope of enduring long.”)

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