From morn till eve they struggled,
life and death.
As though in mirth they contended,
foes of equal worth.
Cosmo Monkhouse (1840-1901)
Life and Death
From morn to eve they struggled--Life and Death.
At first it seemed to me that they in mirth
Contended, and as foes of equal worth,
So firm their feet, so undisturbed their breath.
But when the sharp red sun cut through its sheath
Of western clouds, I saw the brown arms' girth
Tighten and bear that radiant form to earth,
And suddenly both fell upon the heath.
And then the wonder came--for when I fled
To where those great antagonists down fell
I could not find the body that I sought,
And when and where it went I could not tell,
One only form was left of those who fought,
The long dark form of Death--and it was dead.
Text from "Sonnets of This Century" - see more at
( National Portrait Gallery, London )