When will the grave shelter thy few gray hairs,
O aged man! Thy sand is almost run,
And many a year, in vain, to meet the sun,
Thine eyes have rolled in darkness; want and cares
Have been thy visitants from morn to morn.
While trembling on existence thou dost live,
Accept what human charity can give;
But standing thus, time-palsied, and forlorn,
Like a scathed oak, of all its boughs bereft,
God and the grave are thy best refuge left.
When the bells rung, and summer's smiling ray
Welcomed again the merry Whitsuntide,
And all my humble villagers were gay;
I saw thee sitting on the highway side,
To feel once more the warm sun's blessed beam:
Didst thou then think upon thy own gay prime,
On such a holiday, and the glad time
When thou wert young and happy, like a dream
Now perished! No; the murmured prayer alone
Rose from the trembling lips towards the Throne
Of Mercy; that ere spring returned again,
And the long winter blew its dreary blast,
To sweep the verdure from the fading plain,
Thy burden would be dropped, thy sorrows past!
O blind and aged man, bowed down with cares,
When will the grave shelter thy few gray hairs!