"Stanzas to Time." by Mary Darby Robinson (1758-1800)
CAPRICIOUS foe to human joy,
Still varying with the fleeting day;
With thee the purest raptures cloy,
The fairest prospects fade away;
Nor worth, nor pow'r thy wings can bind,
All earthly pleasures fly with THEE;
Inconstant as the wav'ring wind
That plays upon the summer sea.
I court thee not, ungentle guest,
For I have e'er been doom'd to find
Life's gayest hours but idly drest,
With sweets that pall the sick'ning mind:
When smiling HOPE with placid mien,
Around my couch did fondly play;
Too oft thy aëry form I've seen,
On DOWNY pinions glide away.
But when, perplex'd with pain or care,
My couch with THORNS was scatter'd round;
When the pale priestess of DESPAIR
My mind in fatal spells had bound;
When the dull hours no joy could bring,
No bliss my weary fancy prove;
I mark'd thy leaden, pond'rous wing,
With TARDY pace, unkindly move.
IF SUCH THY GIFTS, O Time! for thee
My sated heart shall ne'er repine;
I bow content to FATE'S decree,
And with thy thorns thy roses twine;
Yet e'er thy fickle reign shall end,
The balmy sweets of FRIENDSHIP'S hour,
I'll with my cup of sorrow blend,
And smile, REGARDLESS OF THY POW'R.