It came with spring's soft sun and showers,
Mid bursting buds and blushing flowers;
It flourished on the same light stem,
It drank the same clear dews with them.
The crimson tints of summer morn
That gilded one, did each adorn:
The breeze that whispered light and brief
To bud or blossom, kissed the leaf;
When o'er the leaf the tempest flew,
The bud and blossom trembled too.
But its companions passed away,
And left the leaf to lone decay.
The gentle gales of spring went by:
The fruits and flowers of summer die.
The autumn winds swept o'er the hill,
And winter's breath came cold and chill.
The leaf now yielded to the blast,
And on the rushing stream was cast.
Far, far it glided to the sea,
And whirled and eddied wearily,
Till suddenly it sank to rest,
And slumbered in the ocean's breast.
Thus life begins--its morning hours,
Bright as the birthday of the flowers--
Thus passes like the leaves away,
As withered and as lost as they.
Beneath the parent roof we meet
In joyous groups, and gayly greet
The golden beams of love and light,
That dawn upon the youthful sight.
But soon we part, and one by one,
Like leaves and flowers, the group is gone.
One gentle spirit seeks the tomb,
His brow yet fresh with childhood's bloom:
Another treads the paths of fame,
And barters peace to win a name.
Another still, tempts fortune's wave,
And seeking wealth, secures a grave.
The last, grasps yet the brittle thread:
Though friends are gone and joy is dead--
Still dares the dark and fretful tide,
And clutches at its power and pride--
Till suddenly the waters sever,
And like the leaf, he sinks for ever!