LEUCONOE, cease presumptuous to inquire
Of grave Diviner, if successive years
Onward shall roll, ere yet the funeral pyre,
For thee and me, the hand of Friendship rears!
Ah rather meet, with gay and vacant brow,
Whatever youth, and time, health, love, and fate allow;
If many winters on the naked trees
Drop in our sight the paly wreaths of frost,
Or this for us the last, that from the seas
Hurls the loud flood on the resounding coast. -
Short since thou know'st the longest vital line,
Nurse the near hope, and pour the rosy wine.
E'en while we speak our swiftly-passing Youth
Stretches its wing to cold Oblivion's shore;
Then shall the Future terrify, or sooth,
Whose secrets no vain foresight can explore?
The Morrow's faithless promise disavow,
And seize, thy only boast, the GOLDEN NOW.