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Littell's Living Age/Volume 115/Issue 1489/The Lesson of the Leaf-Fall

Naught that is human dureth long:
     And well the old-world poem ran —
     "As fall the leaves, so falleth man."
Yet who will heed that warning song?

The ear, but not the heart, we ope,
     When come those words to us addressed;
    For still there burneth in the breast
The oft delusive fire of Hope.

Life's happy flowers resolved to tend
     Through sunshine hours, presumptuous man
     Formeth bold scheme and daring plan,
Which never gain their purposed end.


We live as though there were no death —

    As though our being's boundless wealth
    No limit knew, nor failing health

Came ever down to stop the breath.


O fools and blind, to quite forget

    How soon our youth-tide passeth by:
    How soon within the darkening sky

Our very sun of life shall set!,


Then be life's lesson, from' life's goal,

    Well laid to heart and understood —
    In all that's beautiful and good

Delight betimes, O man, thy soul.