Thomas Campbell

The River of Life

THE more we live, more brief appear
    Our life’s succeeding stages;
A day to childhood seems a year,
    And years like passing ages.

The gladsome current of our youth,
    Ere passion yet disorders,
Steals lingering like a river smooth
    Along its grassy borders.

But as the careworn cheek grows wan,
    And sorrow’s shafts fly thicker,
Ye stars, that measure life to man,
    Why seem your courses quicker?

When joys have lost their bloom and breath,
    And life itself is vapid,
Why, as we reach the Falls of Death
    Feel we its tide more rapid?

It may be strange—yet who would change
    Time’s course to slower speeding,
When one by one our friends have gone,
    And left our bosoms bleeding?

Heaven gives our years of fading strength
    Indemnifying fleetness;
And those of youth, a seeming length,
    Proportion’d to their sweetness.

About the poet
Thomas Campbell
By the same poet
Ye Mariners of England
The Battle of the Baltic
Related books
Thomas Campbell at amazon.co.uk

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