Ars Longa Poem Rhyme Scheme and Analysis


A Song of PilgrimageA
Our hopes are wild imaginingsB
Our schemes are airy castlesB
Yet these on earth are lords and kingsB
And we their slaves and vassalsB
Yon dream forsooth of buoyant youthC
Most ready to deceive isB
But age will own the bitter truthC
'Ars longa vita brevis '-
The hill of life with eager feetD
We climbed in merry morningE
But on the downward track we meetD
The shades of twilight warningE
The shadows gaunt they fall aslantD
And those who scaled Ben NevisB
Against the mole hills toil and pantD
'Ars longa vita brevis '-
The obstacles that barr'd our pathF
We seldom quail'd to dash onG
In youth for youth one motto hathF
'The will the way must fashion '-
Those words I wot blood thick and hotD
Too ready to believe isB
But thin and cold our blood hath gotD
'Ars longa vita brevis '-
And 'art is long' and 'life is short'D
And man is slow at learningE
And yet by divers dealings taughtD
For divers follies yearningE
He owns at last with grief downcastD
For man disposed to grieve isB
One adage old stands true and fastD
'Ars longa vita brevis '-
We journey manhood youth and ageH
The matron and the maidenI
Like pilgrims on a pilgrimageA
Loins girded heavy ladenI
Each pilgrim strong who joins our throngJ
Most eager to achieve isB
Foredoom'd ere long to swell the songJ
'Ars longa vita brevis '-
At morn with staff and sandal shoonI
We travel brisk and cheeryK
But some have laid them down ere noonI
And all at eve are wearyK
The noontide glows with no reposeB
And bitter chill the eve isB
The grasshopper a burden growsB
'Ars longa vita brevis '-
The staff is snapp'd the sandal fray'dD
The flint stone galls and blistersB
Our brother's steps we cannot aidD
Ah me nor aid our sister'sB
The pit prepares its hidden snaresB
The rock prepared to cleave isB
We cry in falling unawaresB
'Ars longa vita brevis '-
Oh Wisdom which we sought to winI
Oh Strength in which we trustedD
Oh Glory which we gloried inI
Oh puppets we adjustedD
On barren land our seed is sandD
And torn the web we weave isB
The bruised reed hath pierced the handD
'Ars longa vita brevis '-
We too 'Job's comforters' have metD
With steps like ours unsteadyK
They could not help themselves and yetD
To judge us they were readyK
Life's path is trod at last and GodD
More ready to reprieve isB
They know who rest beneath the sodD
'Mors grata vita brevis '-

Adam Lindsay Gordon


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