Eternity of time

Amazing, grand eternity of time!
Where things of greatest standing grow sublime,
Less from long fames, and universal praise,
Than wearing as the ‘ancient of old days’
‘Old days,’ once spoken, seems but half the way
To reach that night-leap of eternal day.
Miltonic centuries, each a mighty boast,
Shakespearian eras — worlds, without their host,
Engraved upon the adamant of fame
By pens of steel, in characters of flame —
To which the forest oaks' eternal stay
Are but as points and commas in their way —
These less than nothings are to ruin's doom,
When suns grow dark, and earth a vast and lonely tomb.

The Poems of John Clare
ed. J. W. Tibble (2 volumes, Dent, 1935)

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