Here with a loaf of bread beneath the bough,
A flask of wine, a book of verse-and thou
Beside me singing in the wilderness-
And wilderness is paradise now.
Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend,
Before we too into the dust descend;
Dust into dust, and under dust, to lie,
Sans wine, sans song, sans singer and- sans end.
With them the seed of wisdom did I sow,
And with my own hand labour’d it to grow:
And this was all the harvest that I reap’d-
“I came like water, and like wind I go.”
Ah, fill the cup: -what boots it to repeat
How time is slipping underneath our feet:
Unborn TO-MORROW and dead YESTERDAY.
Why fret about them if TO-DAY be sweet!
The moving finger writes; and, having write,
Moves on: nor all the piety nor wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a line,
Nor all the tears wash out a word of it.
Alas, the spring should vanish with the rose!
That youth’s sweet-scented manuscript should close!
The nightingale that in the branches sang,
Ah, whence, and whither flown again, who knows!