WHY wish for life? has this vain world,
One source of pure delight,
Whose every fortune has its pang,
And every age, its blight?
Trembling, in childhood, at a look,
In youth, with love's vain fears,
Man walks awhile, the sport of fate,
Then sinks, oppressed with years.
'Tis now the strife to win, that racks
His inmost soul with pain;
And now, far worse, the fear to lose
What cost so much to gain.
Thrones have their thorns, eternal war
Must gain them, and must guard;
And envy, still, and scorn are found,
Fair virtue's best reward.
Vain world! whose dreams and shadows mock,
Whose follies cheat the eye,
Till age, the base delusion, shows,
Just time enough--to die.*
* These poems, in the order in which they are here (with a few others), appeared in the fist edition of "Songs by the Way" published in New York, by E. Bliss and E. White, 128 Broadway, in A. D. 1824.