No more the morn, with tepid rays,
Unfolds the flow'r of various hue;
Noon spreads no more the genial blaze,
Nor gentle eve distils the dew.
The ling'ring hours prolong the night,
Usurping darkness shares the day;
Her mists restrain the force of light,
And Phoebus holds a doubtful sway.
By gloomy twilight, half reveal'd,
With sighs we view the hoary hill,
The leafless wood, the naked field,
The snow-topp'd cot, the frozen rill.
No musick warbles through the grove,
No vivid colours paint the plain;
No more, with devious steps, I rove
Through verdant paths, now sought in vain.
Aloud the driving tempest roars,
Congeal'd, impetuous show'rs descend;
Haste, close the window, bar the doors,
Fate leaves me Stella, and a friend.
In nature's aid, let art supply
With light and heat my little sphere;
Rouse, rouse the fire, and pile it high,
Light up a constellation here.
Let musick sound the voice of joy,
Or mirth repeat the jocund tale;
Let love his wanton wiles employ,
And o'er the season wine prevail.
Yet time life's dreary winter brings,
When mirth's gay tale shall please no more
Nor musick charm – though Stella sings;
Nor love, nor wine, the spring restore.
Catch, then, Oh! catch the transient hour,
Improve each moment as it flies;
Life's a short summer – man a flow'r:
He dies – alas! how soon he dies!
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)
[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]