"Sleeping Man" by Charles Auguste Émile Durand, 1861.

Night Talk

At last ! I come in soot and sweat,
In rust, in mud and dust and blood,
I come half alive, half dead;
Yet cursed as much as blessed by God.
I come at last to rest my head.
at last I rest,
and tell myself I did my best…

At last! I come unfettered by regret,
Untriumphant, yet unbroken,
Half conquering, half conquered,
with gains and pains, unheard, unspoken.
I come at last to pay my debt,
at last I pay
my debt of self-same self-made dismay…

At last! I come with burdened pride,
and tears of toil, and elbow grease.
In a God, I can’t but do confide,
The God of a rosy & menacing breeze.
I come at last down my sunset.
at last I bow
down to the unanswered “Why?” & “How?”

At last! I come, — surrender to the dreary drum;
Self-adorned by tones of toil,
Awaken amidst those masses — numb,
By wisdom of the water, fire, and soil.
At last, I come rest ‘pon my bed;
at last I feast,
For tomorrow, I beat my beast!


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