Could I but leave men wiser by my song,
And somewhat happier in their little day,
Wean them from things that lure but to betray,
Make the harsh gentle, and the feeble strong,
Shunning the paths where pride and folly throng,
Then would I carol all the livelong day,
And, as the golden sunset waned to grey,
With vesper voice my twilight hour prolong.
But now they hear me heedlessly, or pass,
With hurrying steps, to pomp’s ambitious strife
But with chagrin and disappointment rife,
And shadows fleeting as one’s breath on glass,
Still with foiled feet and baffled hopes, alas!
Lost in the long vain labyrinth of Life.