Ancient, wrinkled dames and jealous - They whom joyless Age downcasts - And the sere, gray-bearded fellows Who would fain re-live their pasts - These, the ancients, grimly tell us: "Vows are vain, and no love lasts."
Fleeting years fulfil Fate's sentence, Eyes must dim, and hair turn gray, Age bring wrinkles, p'rhaps repentance; Youth shall quickly hie away, And that time when youth has went hence, We - and love - have had our day.
Let the world, and fuming, fretting, Busy worldlings pass us by, Bent on piles of lucre getting - They shall lose it when they die; Past and future, sweet! forgetting - Seize the present ere it fly.
Your bright eyes are soft and smiling, Pouting lips are moist and red, And your whispers wondrous wiling - Surely they would quick the dead - And these hours they're now beguiling, All too hasty will have fled.
Years may bring a dole of sorrow, Time enough to fast and pray, From the present pleasures borrow, Let the distant future pay; Leave the penance for the morrow, Sweetheart! love and laugh to-day.
First published in The Bulletin, 24 June 1893.