ODE to YOUTH.
1 SWEET Morn of Life! All hail, ye hours of ease!
2 When blooms the cheek with roseate, varying dyes;
3 When modest grace exerts each power to please,
4 And streaming lustre radiates in the eyes.
5 Thy past hours, innocent; thy present, gay;
6 Thy future, halcyon Hope depicts without allay.
7 Day-spring of Life! oh, stay thy fleeting hours!
8 Thou fairy-reign of ev'ry pleasant thought!
9 Fancy, to cheer thy path, strews all her flowers,
10 And in her loom thy plan of years is wrought.
11 By thee for goodness is each heart caress'd;
12 The World, untried, is judg'd by that within thy breast.
13 Sweet state of Youth! O harmony of Soul!
14 Now cheerful dawns the day; noon brightly beams;
15 And evening comes serene, nor cares control;
16 And night approaches with soft, infant dreams.
17 Circling, the morn beholds th' accustom'd round,
18 Life's smiling charities awake, and joys abound.
19 Season of hope, and peace, and virtues, stay!
20 And for our bliss let inexperience rest;
21 For what can prudent foresight's beam display?
22 Why — the barb'd arrow pointed at our breast! —
23 Teach to suspect the heart we guileless trust,
24 And, ere we are betray'd, to think a friend unjust.
25 Thou candid Age! with ardent Friendship fraught,
26 That fearless confidence to none denies:
27 Better sometimes deceiv'd — and, artless, taught
28 By thy own griefs the wisdom of the wise.
29 For sad Experience, with sorrowing breath,
30 Sheds, weeping sheds, the pristine roses in Hope's wreath.
31 Season belov'd! Ah, doom'd to pass away!
32 With all thy freshness, all thy flatt'ring joys,
33 With blooming Beauty's envy'd, powerful sway,
34 With laughing hours, the future ne'er annoys.
35 Ah! be thou spent as Virtue bids to spend!
36 Then, — though we wish thy stay, — no sighs thy reign shall end.