I gazed on a beautiful girl,
How bright were the tints on her cheek!
How brilliant the light in her eyes!-
Her manner soft, pensive, and meek.
So full of sad sweetness her smile,
Her voice like the low breathing flute;
Her fingers long, slender and white,
And soft the light fall of her foot.
But ah! the chill hand of desay
Lay cold on her white, heaving breast;
She faded away with the leaf-
The Autumn winds sung to her rest.
A stripling, fair, slender, and tall,
And pale as the lily of May-
The down yet unmown on his cheek-
Is drooping in early decay.
He strays by the lake and the stream,
Inhaling the health-bringing breeze;
Feeble his step, and panting his breath,
As he lingers beneath the trees.
Gloomy and stern November came,
'Twas cloudy, and stormy, and cold;
The death-cold youth is borne away
In his frozen mantle's fold.
That stooping and tottering form!
He is wrinkled, hoary, and pale:
Slow decay is sapping his life,
And desire has begun to fail.
The silver cord that bound his life
Is loosened; the aged form
Reposes now on his narrow bed,
With darkness, decay, and the worm.
The human form, each thing that lives,
And grows on this perishing earth-
The trees, the plants, the flowers, the fruits-
Inherit decay from their birth.
The heavens, with the shining stars,
Grow old and must suffer decay,
And, like a worn garment, be changed,
And vanish for ever away.