They’re creeping on the stairs outside,
They’re whispering soft and low;
Now up, now down, I hear his friends,
And still they come and go.
The sweat that runs my side, from that
Hot pit beneath my shoulder,
Is not so cold as he will be,
Before the night’s much older.
My fire I feed with naked hands,
No sound shall reach their ears;
I’m moving like the careful cat,
That stalks a rat it fears.
And as his friends still come and go,
A thoughtful head is mine:
Had Life as many friends as Death,
Lord, how this world would shine!
And since I’ll have so many friends,
When on my death-bed lying-
I wish my life had more love now,
And less when I am dying.