They who to warmer regions run,
May bless the favour of the sun,
But seek in vain what charms us here,
Life’s picture, varying with the year.
Spring, and her wanton train advance
Like Youth to lead the festive dance,
All, all her scenes are mirth and play,
And blushing blossoms own her sway.
The Summer next (those blossoms blown)
Brings on the fruits that spring had sown,
Thus men advance, impelled by time,
And Nature triumphs in her prime.
Then Autumn crowns the beauteous year,
The groves a sicklier aspect wear;
And mournful she (the lot of all)
Matures her fruits, to make them fall.
Clad in the vestments of a tomb,
Old age is only Winter’s gloom—
Winter, alas! shall spring restore,
But youth returns to man no more.
First published in Bailey’s Pocket Almanac for 1785.
Oh touch it not that hope so blest
Which cheers the fainting heart,
And points it to the coming rest
Where sorrow has no part.
Tear from heart each worldly prop,
Unbind each earthly string;
But to this blest and glorious hope,
Oh let my spirit cling.
It cheer’d amid the days of old
Each holy patriarch’s breast,
It was an anchor to their souls,
Upon it let me rest.
When wand’ring in the dens and caves,
In goat and sheep skins drest,
Apeel’d and scatter’d people learn’d
To know this hope was blest.
Help me to love this blessed hope;
My heart’s a fragile thing;
Will you not nerve and bear it up
Around this hope to cling.
Help amid this world of strife
To long for Christ to reign,
That when he brings the crown of life
I may that crown obtain.
From Forest Leaves (1846) by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper. This poem is in the public domain.