WHEN I was young there seemed to be No pleasure in the world for me;
My fellows found it everywhere,
Was none so poor but had his share —
They took mine, too !
I sought in vain; it was my fate
To be too early, or too late:
The nest was there, the bird was flown, —
Ah why? and to what golden zone?
If youth but knew!
Why art thou, Youth, so swift, so slow?
Why dost thou let thy pleasures go?
All that they grasp thy hands let fall;
The best they do not grasp at all,
Do not pursue!
What tingles in my blood like wine?
Those tender eyes that turn to mine,
The soft tears in my eyes that start —
Tell me, what does it mean, my heart?
If youth but knew!
Now I am old there seems to be
No pleasure in the world for me;
But vain regrets for what is past,
Because I did not hold it fast,
Because it flew!
That youth is weak, and age is strong,
Should be the burden of my song,
And might be in my happier hours,
If autumn leaves were summer flowers,
If age could do!
Mock not my sighs, and my white hair,
O Youth, so foolish and so fair!
Remember, life is not all June;
The lean and slippered pantaloon
Awaits thee too!
Be wise, delay not, oh make haste!
Go, steal your arm around her waist;
The rosebud mouth begins to blow;
Stoop down and kiss it, — so, boy, so!
If age could do!
Dum vivimus, the wise men say,
And you can do it as well as they;
So live and love, then, while you can,
Nor sigh, like me, when you are a man,
“ If youth but knew!’ Far better be where Folly dwells,
And shake with him your jangling bells,
Than hear belated Wisdom come,
And beat upon the muffled drum,
If age could do !
R. H. Sloddard.