Ho! sportsman Time, whose chargers fleet
The moments, madly driven,
Beat in the dust beneath their feet
Sweet hopes that years have given;
Turn, turn aside those reckless steeds,
Oh! do not urge them my way;
There’s nothing that Time wants or needs
In this contented by-way.
You have down-trodden, in your race,
So much that proves your power,
Why not avoid my humble place?
Why rob me of my dower?
With your vast cellars, cavern deep,
Packed tier on tier with treasures,
You would not miss them should I KEEP
My little store of pleasures.
As one who, frightened, flying, flings
Her riches down at random,
Your course is paved with precious things
Life casts before your tandem:
The warrior’s fame, the conqueror’s crown,
Great creeds for ages cherished,
Beneath your chariot-wheels were thrown,
And, crushed to earth, they perished.
Although to just and generous deeds
Your heart is not a stranger,
I have the feeling that one needs
To guard his wealth from danger.
And though a most heroic light
Oft on your pathway lingers,
I’d hide my treasures, if I might,
From contact with your fingers.
You are the loyal friend of Truth,
Go seek her, make her stronger,
And leave the remnant of my youth
To me a little longer.
There’s work enough for you before
Eternity shall wed you:
Why stoop to steal my simple store?
Why make me shun and dread you?
You do not need my joys, I say,
Home, love, and friends united –
I beg you turn and go the way
Where wrong waits to be righted;
Or pause, and let us chat a while:
I’ll listen–not too near you,
For oh! no matter how you smile,
I fear you, Time, I fear you!