Why should I, from this long and losing strife

When summoned to depart, halt half-afraid?

Death is full quittance for the debts of life,

Discharging the account, though still unpaid.

Who is it that can say he still hath met

Friendship’s just claim and Duty’s punctual call?

How little do we give for what we get,

And but for Death we should be bankrupts all!

For loan of life the richest but compound,

Love’s priceless gift we but repay in part;

Beggared and bare our balance would be found,

If all we owe were honoured by the heart.

Die, and the lenders our default forget,

Nay, though defrauded, then deem theirs the debt.

Alfred Austin
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