Two years and twenty now have flown
Two years and twenty now have flown;
Their meanness time away has flung;
These limbs to man's estate have grown,
But cannot claim a manly tongue.
Amidst such boundless wealth without
I only still am poor within;
The birds have sung their summer out,
But still my spring does not begin.
In vain I see the morning rise,
In vain observe the western blaze,
Who idly look to other skies,
Expecting life by other ways.
The sparrow sings at earliest dawn,
Building her nest without delay;
All things are ripe to hear her song,
And now arrives the perfect day.
Shall I then wait the autumn wind,
Compelled to seek a milder ray,
And leave no empty nest behind,
No wood still echoing to my lay?
- [Stanzas 3, 2, and 5, in this order, with slight alterations, are printed in Week, p. 366 (Riv. 453), under the title of "The Poet's Delay."]