When the Hermits turn’d Cupid out of doors
In a cynical fit sublime,
He gather’d in haste his flowery stores
And ran to meet flying TIME.
Time laugh’d when he saw the urchin’s haste —
“Why, whither so fast?” he cried;
“When flow’rs are gather’d and butterflies chas’d
My measureless speed you chide.”
“O gentle Time, more tardily tread
While my first spring-garland blooms!
I’ll weave these primroses round your head
And these snowdrops in your plumes.”
Love gave the Wreath from his flowery store
To Tempt old Time’s delay,
But Time flew faster than before
When he bore the prize away.
First Beauty’s lily and half-blown rose
In his withering grasp decay’d;
And the frail narcissus which Folly chose
He left in the dust to fade.
Whim’s gay convolvulus chang’d its hue
When his cold hand touch’d the Wreath;
He shook from the heart’s-ease its honey-dew
And its fragrance ceas’d to breathe.
The roses by Love’s own fingers tied
Ere another hour were dead;
And the sweet-briar-leaves by Wit supplied
Time scatter’d as he fled.
The canker of Shame and the thorn of Grief
’Midst the dying flow’rs were seen
While only the modest myrtle-leaf
Retain’d its triumphant green:
That myrtle by Truth and Reason grac’d,
Was pluck’d from Life’s fairest tree;
And TIME the unfading trophy plac’d
In the crown of ETERNITY.