by JOHN LIDDELL KELLY (1850-1926)
At twenty-five I cast my horoscope,
And saw a future with all good things rife—
A firm assurance of eternal life
In worlds beyond, and in this world the hope
Of deathless fame. But now my sun doth slope
To setting, and the toil of sordid strife,
The care of food and raiment, child and wife,
Have dimmed and narrowed all my spirit’s scope.
Eternal life — a river gulphed in sands!
Undying fame — a rainbow lost in clouds!
What hope of immortality remains
But this: “Some soul that loves and understands
Shall save thee from the darkness that enshrouds”;
And this: “Thy blood shall course in others’ veins”?
All of Kelly’s formal schooling took place in Scotland up until age 11. He married at age 20 and left Scotland for New Zealand in 1880. There he obtained work as a journalist and editor of various publications, including the Auckland Star, the Auckland Observer, the Lyttleton Times and the New Zealand Times.