Apostrophe of Time

O fleeting Time! whence art thou come?
      And whither do thy footsteps tend?
Deep in the past where was thy home,
      And where thy future journey's end?

Thou art from vast eternity,
      And unto boundless regions found;
But what and where’s infinity?
      And what know we of space unbound?

The furrowed brow betokens age;
      But who thy centuries can tell?
Was ancient seer or learned sage
      In wisdom’s lore e’er versed so well?

Hast thou from childhood wandered thus,
      Companionless and lone, through space,
With mystery o’er thy exodus,
      And darkness 'round thy resting place.

What lengthened years have come and gone,
      Since thou thy tireless march began,
Since Luna’s children sang at dawn,
      The wonders of creation’s plan?

How many years of gloom and night
      Had passed, long ere yon king of day
Had reigned his fiery steeds of light,
      And sped them on their shining way?

Thou knowest—Thou alone, O thou!
      Omniscient and eternal Three!
To whose broad eye all time is now—
      The past, with all eternity;

In whose dread presence I shall stand,
      When time shall sink to rise no more,
In that broad sea of thy command,
      Whose waves roll on, without a shore.

The Poetical Works of James Madison Bell (Press of Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford Co., 1901) by James Madison Bell. Copyright © 1901 by James Madison Bell. This poem is in the public domain.