Early or late, come when it will,
At midnight or at noon,
Promise of good, or threat of ill,
Death always comes too soon.
To the child who is too young to know,
(Pray heaven he never may!)
This life of ours is more than play,—
A debt contracted long ago
Which he perforce must pay;
And the man whose head is gray,
And sad, is fain to borrow.
Albeit with added pain and sorrow,
The comfort of delay;
Only let him live to-day—
There will be time to die to-morrow!
Now there is not an hour to spare,
Under the uncertain sky,
Save to pluck roses for the hair
Of the loving and the fair,
And the kisses following these,
Like a swarming hive of bees
That soar on high,
Till, drunken with their own sweet wine,
They fall and die.