One moment mankind rides the crested wave,
A moment glorious, beyond recall;
And then the wave, with slow and massive fall,
Obliterates the beauty that it gave.
When discrowned king and manumitted slave
Are free and equal to be slaves of all,
Democracies in their wide freedom brawl,
And go down shouting to a common grave.
So one by one the petals of the rose
Shrivel and fade, and all its splendour goes
Back to the earth; and in her arms embraced
Through wintry centuries the dead seeds sleep
Till spring comes troubling them, and they unleap,
Once more their petals on the world to waste.