Verses Sent To A Lady On Her Birthday.

A poem by Patrick Bronte

The joyous day illumes the sky
That bids each care and sorrow fly
To shades of endless night:
E'en frozen age, thawed in the fires
Of social mirth, feels young desires,
And tastes of fresh delight.

In thoughtful mood your parents dear,
Whilst joy smiles through the starting tear,
Give approbation due.
As each drinks deep in mirthful wine
Your rosy health, and looks benign
Are sent to heaven for you.

But let me whisper, lovely fair,
This joy may soon give place to care,
And sorrow cloud this day;
Full soon your eyes of sparkling blue,
And velvet lips of scarlet hue,
Discoloured, may decay.

As bloody drops on virgin snows,
So vies the lily with the rose
Full on your dimpled cheek;
But ah! the worm in lazy coil
May soon prey on this putrid spoil,
Or leap in loathsome freak.

Fond wooers come with flattering tale,
And load with sighs the passing gale,
And love-distracted rave:
But hark, fair maid! whate'er they say,
You're but a breathing mass of clay,
Fast ripening for the grave.

Behold how thievish Time has been!
Full eighteen summers you have seen,
And yet they seem a day?
Whole years, collected in Time's glass,
In silent lapse how soon they pass,
And steal your life away!

The flying hour none can arrest,
Nor yet recall one moment past,
And what more dread must seem
Is, that to-morrow's not your own,
Then haste! and ere your life has flown
The subtle hours redeem.

Attend with care to what I sing:
Know time is ever on the wing;
None can its flight detain;
Then, like a pilgrim passing by,
Take home this hint, as time does fly,
"All earthly things are vain."

Let nothing here elate your breast,
Nor, for one moment, break your rest,
In heavenly wisdom grow:
Still keep your anchor fixed above,
Where Jesus reigns in boundless love,
And streams of pleasure flow.

So shall your life glide smoothly by
Without a tear, without a sigh,
And purest joys will crown
Each birthday, as the year revolves,
Till this clay tenement dissolves,
And leaves the soul unbound.

Then shall you land on Canaan's shore,
Where time and chance shall be no more,
And joy eternal reigns;
There, mixing with the seraphs bright,
And dressed in robes of heavenly light,
You'll raise angelic strains.

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