The sun is slowly sinking in the West;
The plough lies idle, and the weary team,
Cool’d with the freshness of the shallow stream,
Over the meadows hasten to their rest;
The breeze is hush’d, and no more turns the mill,
With its light sails upon yon rising crest;
Its busy music now awhile is still,
And not a sound heaves up from Nature’s breast;
The barks upon the river smoothly ride,
With sails all furl’d, and flags that listless fall,
Unrock’d, unshaken by the flowing tide;
The cattle lazy lie within the stall;
And thus the Time-stream on doth sweetly glide,
Bearing repose and slumber unto all.
Ever restless, ever toiling,
Fretting fiercely on its narrow bounds,
Still filling heaven and earth with mournful sounds,
Old ocean, sullen from its rocks recoiling,
Rearing wild waves foam-crested to the sky,
Lashes again the beaches angrily:
Slowly victor-like advancing,
Marching roughly o’er the conquer’d land,
Clean sweeping olden limits from the strand,
In proud derision o’er the spoil’d Earth glancing,
Where ’neath its ruthless tide on hill or plain,
No flower or shady leaf shall bud again.
Slowly thus the ocean creeping,
Creeping coldly o’er the world of old,
Stole many an Eden from the Age of Gold,
And gazing now we see blank billows sweeping,
Long cheerless wavings of the sullen seas,
Were once the sun shone bright on flowery leas.
Over Earth, and over Being,
Over many glories of the Past,
Remorseless floods are flowing fierce and fast,
Snatching sun-lighted Tempes from our seeing,
Rolling their dreary surges o’er the shore,
Where Love had hoped to dwell for evermore.
Sadly on Time’s heaving
Waving darkly o’er Youth’s Paradise,
Back gaze we ever with dim tearful eyes,
Seeking old joys beyond its rude commotion,
Seeking the old world glories pass’d away,
Seeking the golden shores of Life’s Cathay.
Love took me softly by the hand,
Love led me all the country o’er,
And show’d me beauty in the land,
That I had never dreamt before,
Never before, Oh! Love! sweet Love!
There was a glory in the morn,
There was a calmness in the night,
A mildness by the south wind borne,
That I had never felt aright,
Never aright, Oh! Love! sweet Love!
But now it cannot pass away,
I see it wheresoe’er I go,
And in my heart by night and day,
Its gladness waveth to and fro,
By night and day, Oh! Love! sweet Love!
Through the calm and silent air
Floats the tolling funeral bell,
Swooning over hill and dell,
Heavy laden with despair;
Mute between each muffled stroke,
Sad as though a dead voice spoke,
Out of the dim Past time spoke,
Stands my heart all mute with care.