Time and I pass to and fro,
Hardly greeting as we go, -
Go askant, like crossing wings
Of sea-gulls where the brave sea sings.
Time, the messenger of Fate!
Cunning master of debate,
Cunning soother of all sorrow,
Ruthless robber of to-morrow;
Tyrant to our dallying feet,
Though patron of a life complete;
Like Puck upon a rosy cloud,
He rides to distance while we woo him, -
Like pale Remorse wrapped in a shroud,
He brings the world in sackcloth to him!
O dimly seen, and often met
As shadowings of a wild regret!
O king of us, yet feebly served;
Dispenser of the dooms reserved;
So silent at the folly done,
So deadly when our respite's gone! -
As sea-gulls, slanting, cross at sea,
So cross our rapid flights with thee.