THEY are slipping away—these sweet, swift years, 

Like a leaf on the current cast; 

With never a break in the rapid flow, 

We watch them, as one by one they go 

Into the beautiful past. 

As silent and swift as a weaver's thread, 

Or an arrow's flying gleam; 

As soft as the languorous breezes hid, 

That light the willow's long golden lid, 

And ripple the glassy stream. 

As light as the breath of the thistle-down, 

As fond as a maiden's dream; 

As pure as the flush in the sea-shell's throat, 

As sweet as the wood-bird's wooing note, 

So tender and dear they seem. 

One after another we see them pass, 

Down the dim-lighted stair; 

We hear the sound of their heavy tread, 

In the steps of the centuries long since dead, 

As beautiful and fair. 

There are only a few years left to love; 

Shall we waste them in idle strife? 

Shall we trample under our ruthless feet, 

Those beautiful blossoms, rare and sweet, 

By the dusky way of life? 

There are only a few swift years—ah! Let 

No envious taunts be heard; 

Make life's fair pattern of rare design, 

And till up the measure with love's sweet wine, 

But never an angry word.