If thou wouldst have me sing and play,
As once I played and sung,
First take this time-worn lute away,
And bring one freshly strung.
Call back the time when pleasure's sigh
First breathed among the strings;
And Time himself, in flitting by.
Made music with his wings.
But how is this? tho' new the lute,
And shining fresh the chords,
Beneath this hand they slumber mute,
Or speak but dreamy words.
In vain I seek the soul that dwelt
Within that once sweet shell,
Which told so warmly what it felt,
And felt what naught could tell.
Oh, ask not then for passion's lay,
From lyre so coldly strung;
With this I ne'er can sing or play,
As once I played and sung.
No, bring that long-loved lute again,--
Tho' chilled by years it be,
If thou wilt call the slumbering strain,
'Twill wake again for thee.
Tho' time have frozen the tuneful stream
Of thoughts that gushed along,
One look from thee, like summer's beam,
Will thaw them into song.
Then give, oh give, that wakening ray,
And once more blithe and young,
Thy bard again will sing and play,
As once he played and sung.