Lines Sent with a Repeating Watch & Seal Bearing this Motto:
“Ah! Vous dirai-je?”
Ah! could it speak! and there are few
Old Time would speak so softly to,
For years of pain and care have past
Yet on thy brow no snowdrops cast;
And not a print is there to show
What Time might tell.
Ah! would it speak! if then thine ear
Should gentle tales incline to hear
Thou might’st a secret legend learn
Of hope that live without return
And whispers to the slow-pac’d year
“Soon Time shall tell.”
The shell upon the sea-rock’s side
Still echoes to its native tide;
Tho’ motionless and cold it lies
The list’ning ear may hear its sighs:
So pines a heart in sullen pride
As Time shall tell.
It linger’d in a living grave
Then bounded high on Fortune’s wave;
But one disdain’d the prize, nor knew
The rarest pearl is dark in hue.
Shall none the slighted wand’rer save?
Time comes to tell.
Ah! let the kind adviser teach,
Gentle and brief and slow in speech
Like Friendship when it speaks in death,
Like Love which fears its own soft breath,
And leaves the word it cannot reach
For Time to tell.
Fair Lady! Time is in thy hand;
Use it with touch discreet and bland,
And while it moves on diamond feet
Its golden tongue shall truth repeat:
But if thy heart can understand
’Tis time to tell!