While others grace thy natal day
With festive dance and song
A pilgrim leaves his silent way
To mingle in the throng.
When thou are near, a haggard face
A lonely lock, a ling’ring pace
No more to me belong;
For only souls like thine can prove
How swift my ample pinions move.
I will not boast how oft and bright
That day I mean to bring,
For many a downy plume last night
Thy bounty gave my wing.
Thy mirth my rosy crown bestow’d,
To thee my sparkling glass I ow’d —
Now take my offering:
Thou canst not find so pure a prize
In Pleasure’s gayest paradise!
’Midst sands which glisten in my glass
No richer gem I find;
The rest may glimmer, break, and pass
But this remains behind:
Pride may the modest pearl disdain
And Love a brittle semblance feign,
But Pride and Love are blind;
They mock my pow’r — yet I alone
Their fraudful counterfeits make known.
Receive my gift! — of Nature’s wealth
Thy soul has ample store;
Of Wisdom, Honour, Hope and Health
I cannot give thee more:
But that which Wealth can never buy
Shall Youth’s electric glow supply
When thou, like me, are hoar:
I bring what Fortune cannot lend —
Time, only Time reveals a Friend!