A little more, a little less!--
O shadow-hunters pitiless,
Why then so eager, say!
What'er you leave the grave will take,
And all you gain and all you make,
It will not last a day!
Full soon will come the Reaper Black,
Cut thorns and flowers mark his track
Across Life's meadow blithe.
Oppose him, meet him as you will,
Old Time's behests he harkens still,
Unsparing wields his scythe.
A horrid mutiny by stealth
Breaks out,--of power, fame and wealth
Deserted you shall be!
The foam upon your lip is rife;
The last enigma now of Life
Shall Death resolve for thee.
You call for help--'tis all in vain!
What have you for your toil and pain,
What have you at the last?
Poor luckless hunter, are you dumb?
This way the cold pall-bearers come:
A beggar's soul has passed!
A little less, a little more !--
Look forth, look forth! without the door
There stands a robber old.
He'll force your ev'ry lock and spring,
And all your goods he'll take and fling
On Stygian waters cold.