What is Life? (excerpt)

And what is Life? An hour-glass on the run,
A mist retreating from the morning sun,
A busy, bustling, still repeated dream;
Its length?--A minute's pause, a moment's thought;
And happiness?--a bubble on the stream,
That in the act of seizing shrinks to nought.

What are vain hopes?--The puffing gale of morn,
That of its charms divests the dewy lawn,
And robs each flow'ret of its gem,--and dies;
A cobweb hiding disappointment's thorn,
Which stings more keenly through the thin disguise.

And what is Death? Is still the cause unfound?
That dark, mysterious name of horrid sound?--
A long and lingering sleep, the weary crave.
And Peace? where can its happiness abound?
No where at all, save heaven, and the grave.
Then what is Life?--When stripp'd of its disguise,
A thing to be desir'd it cannot be,
Since everything that meets our foolish eyes
Gives proof sufficient of its vanity.
'T is but a trial all must undergo,
To teach unthankful mortals how to prize
That happiness vain man's denied to know
Until he's called to claim it in the skies.

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