"Life." by Mary Darby Robinson (1758-1800)
"What is this world?–thy school, O misery!
"Our only lesson is to learn to suffer."
LOVE, thou sportive fickle boy,
Source of anguish, child of joy,
Ever wounding–ever smiling,
Soothing still, and still beguiling;
What are all thy boasted treasures,
Tender sorrows, transient pleasures ?
Anxious hopes, and jealous fears,
LAUGHING HOURS, and MOURNING YEARS.
What is FRIENDSHIP'S soothing name ?
But a shad'wy, vap'rish flame;
Fancy's balm for ev'ry wound,
Ever sought, but rarely found;
What is BEAUTY ? but a flow'r,
Blooming, fading in an hour;
Deck'd with brightest tints at morn,
At twilight with'ring on a thorn;
Like the gentle Rose of spring,
Chill'd by ev'ry zephyr's wing,
Ah! how soon its colour flies,
Blushes, trembles, falls, and dies.
What is YOUTH ? a smiling sorrow,
Blithe to day, and sad to-morrow;
Never fix'd, for ever ranging,
Laughing, weeping, doating, changing;
Wild, capricious, giddy, vain,
Cloy'd with pleasure, nurs'd with pain;
AGE steals on with wint'ry face,
Ev'ry rapt'rous Hope to chase;
Like a wither'd, sapless tree,
Bow'd to chilling Fate's decree;
Strip'd of all its foliage gay,
Drooping at the close of day;
What of tedious Life remains ?
Keen regrets and cureless pains;
Till DEATH appears, a welcome friend,
To bid the scene of sorrow end.