Vitae summa brevis spem nos vetat incohare longam.
They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate;
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.
They are not long, the days of wine and roses,
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.
The Latin at the start of the poem reads, "The shortness of life prevents us from entertaining far-off hopes" and is a quote from Horace, in the Odes (Odes 1.4.15). I think it's a good preface to a poem which concerns itself with the ephemeral nature of our most extreme emotions. Highest bliss and deepest hate are short things, in the long run. Somehow, this is comforting. It's good to know that the worst of the world will not follow us after death. And if life is but a misty dream, peppered with days of wine and roses, and days of hate, then it is a good dream, on the whole. That's what I take away from the poem, at least.
Does the poem strike you as more depressing than reassuring? Is it dreary to know that all of our emotional life is, in the end, as nothing? Let me know.