Come, my Celia, let us prove,
While we may, how wise is love -
Love grown old and grey with years,
Love whose blood is thinned with tears.
Philosophic lover I,
Broke my heart, its love run dry,
And I warble passion's words
But to hear them sing like birds.
When the lightning struck my side,
Love shrieked and for ever died,
Leaving nought of him behind
But these playthings of the mind.
Now the real play is over
I can only act a lover,
Now the mimic play begins
With its puppet joys and sins.
When the heart no longer feels,
And the blood with caution steals,
Then, ah! then - my heart, forgive! -
Then we dare begin to live.
Dipped in Stygian waves of pain,
We can never feel again;
Time may hurl his deadliest darts,
Love may practise all his arts;
Like some Balder, lo! we stand
Safe 'mid hurtling spear and brand,
Only Death - ah! sweet Death, throw! -
Holds the fatal mistletoe.
Let the young unconquered soul
Love the unit as the whole,
Let the young uncheated eye
Love the face fore-doomed to die:
But, my Celia, not for us
Pleasures half so hazardous;
Let us set our hearts on play,
'Tis, alas! the only way -
Make of life the jest it is,
Laugh and fool and (maybe!) kiss,
Never for a moment, dear,
Love so well to risk a fear.
Is not this, my Celia, say,
The only wise - and weary - way?