Death and Cupid

Many long, long years ago, in days of old,
This legend was written, as I have been told,
By Aesop the Wise, of Cupid the Bold.
One morning, his pathway dusty and dreary,
His lips parched by thirst, his eyes dim and teary,
He journeyed till noon, then worn out and weary,
He entered a cave. 'Twas the Chamber of Death;
The Chamber of Death, so the old legend saith,
But he quaffed the soft air, so cool to his breath.
In that cool quiet cave he lay down to rest,
Yet ere sleep closed his eyes he prayed to be blest
By angels to guard him and those he loved best.
As in slumber deep he lay on the ground,
The angels of Love and Death hov'ring around,
He heeded them not, for he heard not a sound.
Death leaning o'er him he felt a cold shiver
And whispered: "'Tis Death. Have I crossed the dark river?
And must my freed soul return to its Giver?"
Then the Angel of Love pushed cold Death aside,
Saying: "O Death, he shall not stem the tide
Of thy cruel river while I here abide."
Cupid, peacefully sleeping, how happy he seems,—
While the Angel of Love is guiding his dreams—
Awakens in darkness nor sees the moon beams,
Around him lay arrows, beneath and above,
Were they feathers, dropped from the wings of a dove?
Were they arrows of Death or arrows of Love?
He knew not; but blindly gathered the number
He had in his quiver ere lying to slumber.
More arrows would only his journey encumber.
Thus he oft, by fate, from his pathway departs,
At young men and maidens aims Death's cruel darts,
And with arrows of love shoot withered old hearts.
When tired and weary he longeth to die,
The Angel of Love, ever watchful, draws nigh,
Whispering, "Nay, Cupid, for death do not sigh.
While life and love on this fair earth endure
You die not. Be true to your mission so pure,
And the bliss of all true lovers insure."
Don't quarrel with Cupid, nor deem him unkind,
Because the right arrow he can't always find,
For everyone knows that poor Cupid is blind.
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