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CONSTANCY IN CHANGE

by
 COULD this early bliss but rest

Constant for one single hour!
But e'en now the humid West

Scatters many a vernal shower.
Should the verdure give me joy? 'Tis to it I owe the shade; Soon will storms its bloom destroy, Soon will Autumn bid it fade.
Eagerly thy portion seize, If thou wouldst possess the fruit! Fast begin to ripen these, And the rest already shoot.
With each heavy storm of rain Change comes o'er thy valley fair; Once, alas! but not again Can the same stream hold thee e'er.
And thyself, what erst at least Firm as rocks appear'd to rise, Walls and palaces thou seest But with ever-changing eyes.
Fled for ever now the lip That with kisses used to glow, And the foot, that used to skip O'er the mountain, like the roe.
And the hand, so true and warm, Ever raised in charity, And the cunning-fashion'd form,-- All are now changed utterly.
And what used to bear thy name, When upon yon spot it stood, Like a rolling billow came, Hast'ning on to join the flood.
Be then the beginning found With the end in unison, Swifter than the forms around Are themselves now fleeting on! Thank the merit in thy breast, Thank the mould within thy heart, That the Muses' favour blest Ne'er will perish, ne'er depart.
1803.
*

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