We take from life one little share
and say that this shall be a space
redeemed from toil and care
from tears and sadness free.
And haply death unstrings his bow
and sorrow stands apart
and for a little while we know
the sunshine of the heart.
Existence seems a summer eve
warm soft and full of peace
our free unfettered feelings give
the soul its full release.
A moment then it takes power
to call up thoughts that throw around
that charmed and hallowed hour
this life's divinest glow.
But time though viewlessly it flies
and slowly will not stay
alike through clear and clouded skies
it cleaves its silent way.
Alike the bitter cup of grief
alike the draught of bliss
its progress leaves but moment brief
for baffled lips to kiss.
The sparking draught is dried away
the hour of rest is gone
and urgent voices round us say
'Ho, lingerer, hasten on !'
And has the soul then only gained
from this brief time of ease
a moment's rest when overstrained
one hurried glimpse of peace?
No ; while the sun shone kindly o'er us
and flowers bloomed round our feet
while many a bud of joy before us
unclosed its petals sweet.
An unseen work within was plying
like honey-seeking bee
From flower to flower unwearied flying
labored one faculty.
Thoughtful for Winter's future sorrow
its gloom and scarcity
Prescient today of want tomorrow
toiled quiet memory.
'Tis she that from each transient pleasure
extracts a lasting good
'Tis she that finds in summer treasure
to serve for winter's food.
And when youth's summer day is vanished
and age brings winter's stress
her stores with hoarded sweets replenished
life's evening hours will bless.