O! where are the faces that, so bright,
Came in at these hingeless doors,
And the feet of the many, which then, so light
Tripped over these mouldering floors?
Where then at the window used to appear,
In beauty, the human form,
The paneless casement is void and drear,
And open to wind and storm.
The tangled ivy a covering leaves,
As it creeps o'er the sinking walls,
While the owlet hoots, and the spider weaves,
Sole monarchs of these dim halls.
The eye where trembled the spakling tear—
The lip that was curled in mirth—
Where, where are they all, who once were here
To people this crumbling hearth?
The dusky chambers, gloomy and lone,
The breeze swept over and sighed;
While the voice of Time, from his dismal throne,
The ruinous pile, replied,—
"The faces have changed, and been sent away!
The feet have been long laid by!
The form has returned to its kindred clay,
And darkness has wrapped the eye!.
"All, all, who were here, like the hurrying waves
That ride on the restless stream,
Have hastened away; have dropped in their graves;
Have finished life's changeful dream.
"'T is bootless now, to the lowly dead,
Who sleep in their beds of earth,
That their feet were light, that their tears were shed,
Or their lips were curled in mirth.
"Their splendor and mourning have both been cast
Far into the dust and shade;
And master and mansion my hand, at last,
In ruins alike hath laid.
"Yet man hath a spark for ever to burn,
A part that I ne'er can kill;
When I bid his form to the earth return,
The spirit defies me, still.
"But I never must know, as the soul withdrew,
For me to dissolve the clay,
If joy or sorrow were hers in view,
Nor whither she winged her way.
"My sceptre is over these earthly things;
I raise, and I shake them down.
And nations, and empires, and chiefs and kings,
I conquer, and keep my crown.
"But I, in my turn, am to pass away;
My reign must at length be o'er,
When One, whose mandate e'en I must obey,
Commands me to be no more!"
I said, "O Time! if thy work be such
With man and his earthly home,
I'll place my treasures where, not thy touch,
Nor death's is ever to come!"