Bernard, if to you and me
Fortune all at once should give
Years to spend secure and free,
With the choice of how to live,
Tell me, what should we proclaim
Life deserving of the name?
Winning some one else's case?
Saving some one else's seat?
Hearing with a solemn face
People of importance bleat?
No, I think we should not still
Waste our time at others' will.
Summer noons beneath the limes,
Summer rides at evening cool,
Winter's tales and home-made rhymes,
Figures on the frozen pool---
These would we for labours take,
And of these our business make.
Ah! but neither you nor I
Dare in earnest venture so;
Still we let the good days die
And to swell the reckoning go.
What are those that know the way,
Yet to walk therein delay?