What Is This Passing Scene


What is this passing scene
A peevish April-day?
A little sun–a little rain–
And then night sweeps along the plain,
And all things fade away:
Man (soon discuss’d)
Yields up his trust,
And all his hopes and fears lie with him in the dust!

Oh, what is beauty’s power?
It flourishes and dies;
Will the cold earth it’s silence break,
To tell how soft, how smooth a cheek
Beneath it’s surface lies?
Mute, mute is all
O’er beauty’s fall;
Her praise resounds no more, when mantled in her pall.

The most belov’d on earth
Not long survives to-day;
So music past is obsolete,
And yet ’twas sweet, ’twas passing sweet,
But now ’tis gone away:
Thus does the shade,
In memory fade,
When in forsaken tomb the form belov’d is laid!

Then since this world is vain,
And volatile and fleet,
Why should I lay up earthly joys,
Where rust corrupts and moth destroys,
And cares and sorrows eat?
Why fly from ill
With anxious skill,
When soon this hand will freeze, this throbbing heart lie still?