Tell me, tell me, smiling child,
What the past is like to thee?
An Autumn evening, soft and mild,
With a wind that sighs mournfully.
Tell me what is the present hour?
A green and flowery spray,
Where a young bird sits gathering its power
To mount and fly away.
And what is the future, happy one?
A sea beneath a cloudless sun;
A mighty, glorious, dazzling sea,
Stretching into infinity.
The inspiring music's thrilling sound,
The glory of the festal day,
The glittering splendour rising round,
Have passed like all earth's joys away.
Forsaken by that lady fair,
She glides unheeding through them all;
Covering her brow to hide the tear
That still, though checked, trembles to fall.
She hurries through the outer hall,
And up the stairs through galleries dim,
That murmur to the breezes' call
The night-wind's lonely vesper hymn.