Change is the order of the universe.
Worlds wax and wane; suns die and stars are born.
Two atoms of cosmic dust unite, cohere
And lo the building of a world begun.
On all things high or low, or great or small
Earth, ocean, mountain, mammoth, midge and man,
On mind and matter lo perpetual change
God's fiat stamped! The very bones of man
Change as he grows from infancy to age.
His loves, his hates, his tastes, his fancies, change.
His blood and brawn demand a change of food;
His mind as well: the sweetest harp of heaven
Were hateful if it played the selfsame tune
Forever, and the fairest flower that gems
The garden, if it bloomed throughout the year,
Would blush unsought. The most delicious fruits
Pall on our palate if we taste too oft,
And Hyblan honey turns to bitter gall.
Perpetual winter is a reign of gloom;
Perpetual summer hardly pleases more.
Behold the Esquimau the Hottentot:
This doomed to regions of perpetual ice,
And that to constant summer's heat and glow:
Inferior both, both gloomy and unblessed.
The home of happiness and plenty lies
Where autumn follows summer and the breath
Of spring melts into rills the winter's snows.
How gladly, after summer's blazing suns,
We hail the autumn frosts and autumn fruits:
How blithesome seems the fall of feathery snow
When winter comes with merry clang of bells:
And after winter's reign of ice and storm
How glad we hail the robins of the spring.
For God hath planted in the hearts of men
The love of change, and sown the seeds of change
In earth and air and sea and shoreless space.
Day follows night and night the dying day,
And every day and every hour is change;
From when on dewy hills the rising dawn
Sprinkles her mists of silver in the east,
Till in the west the golden dust up-wheels
Behind the chariot of the setting sun;
From when above the hills the evening star
Sparkles a diamond 'mong the grains of gold,
Until her last faint flicker on the sea.
The voices of the hoar and hurrying years
Cry from the silence "Change! perpetual Change!"
Man's heart responding throbs "Perpetual Change,"
And grinds like a mill-stone: wanting grists of change
It grinds and grinds upon its troubled self.
Behold the flowers that spring and bloom and fade.
Behold the blooming maid: the song of larks
Is in her warbling throat; the blue of heaven
Is in her eyes; her loosened tresses fall
A shower of gold on shoulders tinged with rose;
Her form a seraph's and her gladsome face
A benediction. Lo beneath her feet
The loving crocus bursts in sudden bloom.
Fawn-eyed and full of gentleness she moves
A sunbeam on the lawn. The hearts of men
Follow her footsteps. He whose sinewy arms
Might burst through bars of steel like bands of straw,
Caught in the net of her unloosened hair,
A helpless prisoner lies and loves his chains.
Blow, ye soft winds, from sandal-shaded isle,
And bring the mogra's breath and orange-bloom.
Fly, fleet-winged doves, to Ponce de Leon's spring,
And in your bills bring her the pearls of youth;
For lo the fingers of relentless Time
Weave threads of silver in among the gold,
And seam her face with pain and carking care,
Till, bent and bowed, the shriveled hands of Death
Reach from the welcome grave and draw her in.