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I shall not say, our life is all in vain,
For peace may cheer the desolated hearth;
But well I know that, on this weary earth,
Round each joy-island is a sea of pain--
And the days go by.


We watch our hopes, far flickering in the night,
Once radiant torches, lighted in our youth,
To guide, through years, to some broad morn of truth;
But these go out and leave us with no light--
And the days go by.


We see the clouds of summer go and come,
And thirsty verdure praying them to give:
We cry, "O Nature, tell us why we live!"
She smiles with beauty, but her lips are numb--
And the days go by.


Yet what are we? We breathe, we love, we cease:
Too soon our little orbits change and fall:
We are Fate's children, very tired; and all
Are homeless strangers, craving rest and peace--
And the days go by.


I only ask to drink experience deep;
And, in the sad, sweet goblet of my years,
To find love poured with all its smiles and tears,
And quaffing this, I too shall sweetly sleep--
While the days go by.