O fair bird, singing in the woods,
To the rising and the setting sun,
Does ever any throb of pain
Thrill through thee ere thy song be done:
Because the summer fleets so fast;
Because autumn fades so soon;
Because deadly winter treads
So closely on the steps of June?
O sweet maid, opening like a rose
In love’s mysterious, honyed air,
Dost think sometimes the day will come
When thou shalt be no longer fair:
When love will leave thee and pass on
To younger and to brighter eyes;
And thou shalt live unloved, alone,
A dull life, only dowered with sighs?
O brave youth, panting for the fight,
To conquer wrong and win thee fame,
Dost see thyself grown old and spent,
And thine a still unhonoured name:
When all thy hopes have come to naught,
And all thy fair schemes droop and pine
And all wrong still lifts her hydra heads
To fall to younger arms then thine?
Nay; song and love and lofty aims
May never be where faith is not;
Strong souls within the present live;
The future veiled,- the past forgot:
Grasping what is, with hands of steel,
They bend what shall be, to their will;
And blind alike to doubt and dread,
The End, for which they are, fulfil.