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Poems About Time

Table of Contents

  1. For Katrina's Sun Dial by Henry Van Dyke
  2. Lines for a Sun-Dial by Alfred Noyes
  3. What the Minutes Say by Anonymous
  4. A New Time-Table by Anonymous
  5. Time by Anonymous
  6. The Time-Brood by John B. Tabb
  7. Even Such is Time by Sir Walter Raleigh
  8. Look back on time with kindly eyes by Emily Dickinson
  9. Thief and Giver by Anonymous
  10. Burglar Time by Anonymous
  11. They say that 'time assuages,' — by Emily Dickinson
  12. Misnomer by Esther Crone
  13. To Time by Ruby Archer
  14. The Isle of Long Ago by Benjamin Franklin Taylor
  15. Nows the Time by Amos Russel Wells
  16. The Lapse of Time by William Cullen Bryant
  17. Oh! First Time Came by Charles Swain
  18. Reveille by A.E Houseman
  19. Reflections on the Spending of Time by Benjamin Hine
  20. He Took Time to Die by Amos Russel Wells
  21. Inalienable by Anonymous
  22. Athanasia by Anonymous
  23. The Gift of Time by Anonymous
  24. In Time's Swing by Lucy Larcom
  25. The Ruin by Hannah Flagg Gould
  26. If I should die by Emily Dickinson
  27. Sweet hours have perished here by Emily Dickinson
  1. The Spouting Horn by Hannah Flagg Gould
  2. I had no time to hate, because by Emily Dickinson
  3. A Moment Too Late by Anonymous
  4. Time by Jones Very
  5. Recessional by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts
  6. Ode on a Grecian Urn by John Keats
  7. The Water Mill by Sarah Doudney
  8. The Time Is Short by Eliza Wolcott
  9. Today by Thomas Carlyle
  10. Time and Love by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
  11. True Wisdom by Lydia Howard Sigourney
  12. Time's Shadow by Mathilde Blind
  13. Only a Matter of Time by Christopher Morley
  14. Little Things by Julia Fletcher Carney
  15. School-Time by Anonymous


Time waits for no one.

– Old Adage
  1. For Katrina's Sun Dial

    For those who love, time is
    Eternity.

    - Henry Van Dyke
    For Katrina's Sun Dial
    by Henry Van Dyke

    Time is
    Too slow for those who wait,
    Too swift for those who fear,
    Too long for those who grieve,
    Too short for those who rejoice,
    But for those who love, time is
    Eternity.

  2. Lines for a Sun-Dial

    by Alfred Noyes

    With shadowy pen I write,
    Till time be done,
    Good news of some strange light,
    Some far off sun.

  3. What the Minutes Say

    We are but minutes—little things!
    Each one furnished with sixty wings,
    With which we fly on our unseen track,
    And not a minute ever comes back.

    - Anonymous
    What the Minutes Say
    by Anonymous

    We are but minutes—little things!
    Each one furnished with sixty wings,
    With which we fly on our unseen track,
    And not a minute ever comes back.

    We are but minutes; use us well,
    For how we are used we must one day tell.
    Who uses minutes, has hours to use;
    Who loses minutes, whole years must lose.

  4. A New Time-Table

    by Anonymous

    Sixty seconds make a minute:
    How much good can I do in it?
    Sixty minutes make an hour,—
    All the good that’s in my power.
    Twenty hours and four, a day,—
    Time for work, and sleep, and play.
    Days, three hundred sixty-five
    Make a year for me to strive
    Eight good things for me to do,
    That I wise may grow and true.

  5. Time

    by Anonymous

    “Sixty seconds make a minute,
    Sixty minutes make an hour;”
    If I were a little linnet,
    Hopping in her leafy bower,
    Then I should not have to sing it:
    “Sixty seconds make a minute.”

  6. The Time-Brood

    I wonder how the mother-Hour
    Can feed each hungry Minute,
    And see that every one of them
    Gets sixty seconds in it;

    - John B. Tabb
    The Time-Brood
    by John B. Tabb

    I wonder how the mother-Hour
    Can feed each hungry Minute,
    And see that every one of them
    Gets sixty seconds in it;

    And whether, when she goes abroad,
    She knows which ones attend her;
    For all of them are just alike
    In age and size and gender.

  7. Even Such is Time

    by Sir Walter Raleigh

    Even such is Time, that takes in trust
    Our youth, our joys, our all we have,
    And pays us but with earth and dust;
    Who in the dark and silent grave
    When we have wandered all our ways,
    Shuts up the story of our days;
    But from this earth, this grave, this dust,
    My God shall raise me up, I trust.

  8. Look back on time with kindly eyes

    by Emily Dickinson

    Look back on time with kindly eyes,
    He doubtless did his best;
    How softly sinks his trembling sun
    In human nature's west!

  9. Thief and Giver

    Time's a giver and he brings
    Sometimes weights and sometimes wings;

    - Amos R. Wells
    Thief and Giver
    by Amos Russel Wells

    Time's a thief; he steals away
    Many blossoms of to-day.
    Joys he steals and also tears,
    Pilfers hopes and filches fears.
    May the rascal steal from you
    Only what you want him to!

    Time's a giver and he brings
    Sometimes weights and sometimes wings;
    Now his gifts are lasting fair,
    Now they vanish in the air.
    May the rascal give to you
    Only what you want him to!

  10. Burglar Time

    Time's a burglar. On his toes
    Noiselessly the rascal goes;

    - Amos Russel Wells
    Burglar Time
    by Amos Russel Wells

    Time's a burglar. On his toes
    Noiselessly the rascal goes;
    Steals my hair, and in its place
    Drops long wrinkles on my face;
    Steals my vigor, and instead
    With experience crams my head;
    Steals the trustfulness of youth,
    Changing it for bitter truth;
    Steals my friends by slow degrees,
    Leaving only memories;
    Steals my hope, my daring bold,
    Leaving nought but yellow gold,
    Making these exchanges, he
    Deems it is no robbery;
    Yes, and truly; for his stealth
    Of my dear departed wealth
    Yet has left the Joy of Life,
    You, my daughter and my wife!

  11. They say that 'time assuages,' —

    Time is a test of trouble,
    But not a remedy.

    - Emily Dickinson
    They say that Time assuages
    by Emily Dickinson

    They say that 'time assuages,' —
    Time never did assuage;
    An actual suffering strengthens,
    As sinews do, with age.

    Time is a test of trouble,
    But not a remedy.
    If such it prove, it prove too
    There was no malady.

  12. Misnomer

    by Esther Crone

    Nay! tell me not that the year grows old,
    When it is made of newborn days;
    It is like a book as the leaves unfold,
    With the pages fresh always.

    It does not decline, decay and die,
    As the sages have long, long said,
    The change that comes is in you and I,
    It is we that grow old instead.

  13. To Time

    by Ruby Archer

    Time! Thou art a youth, a youth all power.
    I cannot vision thee an aged man.
    Thou art the messenger of century
    To century, thou Hermes-footed one;
    And with thy wand of progress thou dost wake
    All worlds to motion and all men to zeal.
    No prayer may stay thy pinions beating swift,
    Nor make thee falter on thy purposed flight.
    The hours thou lettest fall upon our hearts
    Are precious flowers that we would cherish fain,
    But they must die for brighter blooms to live.
    On then, O tireless, great-eyed Time!
    Child of Eternity! We follow thee.
    Lean o'er us, groping in the dust of earth,
    And clear our vision with a dream of heaven.

  14. The Isle of Long Ago

    Oh, a wonderful stream is the river of Time,
    As it runs through the realm of tears,
    With a faultless rhythm and a musical rhyme,
    And a boundless sweep and a surge sublime,
    As it blends with the ocean of Years.

    - Benjamin Franklin Taylor
    The Isle of Long Ago
    by Benjamin Franklin Taylor

    Oh, a wonderful stream is the river of Time,
    As it runs through the realm of tears,
    With a faultless rhythm and a musical rhyme,
    And a boundless sweep and a surge sublime,
    As it blends with the ocean of Years.

    How the winters are drifting, like flakes of snow,
    And the summers, like buds between;
    And the year in the sheaf—so they come and they go,
    On the river's breast, with its ebb and flow,
    As it glides in the shadow and sheen.

    There's a magical isle up the river of Time,
    Where the softest of airs are playing;
    There's a cloudless sky and a tropical clime,
    And a song as sweet as a vesper chime,
    And the Junes with the roses are staying.

    And the name of that isle is the Long Ago,
    And we bury our treasures there;
    There are brows of beauty and bosoms of snow—
    There are heaps of dust—but we love them so!—
    There are trinkets and tresses of hair;

    There are fragments of song that nobody sings,
    And a part of an infant's prayer,
    There's a lute unswept, and a harp without strings;
    There are broken vows and pieces of rings,
    And the garments that she used to wear.

    There are hands that are waved, when the fairy shore
    By the mirage is lifted in air;
    And we sometimes hear, through the turbulent roar,
    Sweet voices we heard in the days gone before,
    When the wind down the river is fair.

    Oh, remembered for aye be the blessed Isle,
    All the day of our life till night—
    When the evening comes with its beautiful smile,
    And our eyes are closing to slumber awhile,
    May that "Greenwood." of Soul be in sight

  15. Now's the Time

    by Amos Russel Wells

    If a poem you would write,
    Now's the time!
    Ne'er was epic yet or sonnet
    Captured but by leaping on it;
    Pegasus depend upon it,
    Knows his time.

    If you have a task to do,
    Now's the time!
    Now, while you've a notion to it;
    Now, while zeal will help you do it;
    Or in shame you'll hobble through it,
    Out of time.

    If you have a word of praise,
    Now's the time!
    Should the sky, while flowers are growing
    Stint its gracious dew-bestowing
    Ne'er would come the rainhow-glowing
    Blossom time.

    If you have a kiss to give,
    Now's the time!
    Lips, like flowers, soon are faded,
    Life-blood pallid, checked, and jaded,
    If they are not love—o'ershaded,
    Kissed in time.

    If you have a prayer to pray,
    Now's the time!
    Not to every hour are given
    Upward look and open heaven;
    Oh, be strengthened, gladdened, shriven,
    While there's time!

  16. The Lapse of Time

    Lament who will, in fruitless tears.
    The speed with which our moments fly
    I sigh not over vanished years,
    But watch the years that hasten by.

    - William Cullen Bryant
    The Lapse of Time
    by William Cullen Bryant

    Lament who will, in fruitless tears.
    The speed with which our moments fly
    I sigh not over vanished years,
    But watch the years that hasten by.

    Look, how they come,—a mingled crowd
    Of bright and dark, but rapid days;
    Beneath them, like a summer cloud,
    The wide world changes as I gaze.

    What! grieve that time has brought so soon
    The sober age of manhood on?
    As idly might I weep, at noon,
    To see the blush of morning gone.

    Could I give up the hopes that glow
    In prospect, like Elysian isles;
    And let the charming future go,
    With all her promises and smiles?

    The future!—cruel were the power
    Whose doom would tear thee from my heart.
    Thou sweetener of the present hour!
    We cannot—no—we will not part.

    Oh, leave me, still, the rapid flight
    That makes the changing seasons gay,
    The grateful speed that brings the night,
    The swift and glad return of day;

    The months that touch, with added grace,
    This little prattler at my knee,
    In whose arch eye and speaking face
    New meaning every hour I see;

    The years, that o'er each sister land
    Shall lift the country of my birth
    And nurse her strength, till she shall stand
    The pride and pattern of the earth;

    Till younger commonwealths, for aid,
    Shall cling about her ample robe,
    And from her frown shall shrink afraid
    The crowned oppressors of the globe.

    True—time will seam and blanch my brow—
    Well—I shall sit with aged men,
    And my good glass will tell me how
    A grizzly beard becomes me then.

    And should no foul dishonour lie
    Upon my head, when I am gray,
    Love yet shall watch my fading eye,
    And smooth the path of my decay.

    Then haste thee, Time—'tis kindness all
    That speeds thy winged feet so fast;
    Thy pleasures stay not till they pall,
    And all thy pains are quickly past.

    Thou fliest and bear'st away our woes,
    And as thy shadowy train depart,
    The memory of sorrow grows
    A lighter burden on the heart.

  17. Oh! First Time Came

    Ah well! old Time, life's but a day—
    With some few gleams our path adorning;
    The night will come, whate'er we say—
    It cannot always, Time, be morning.

    - Charles Swain
    Oh! First Time Came
    by Charles Swain

    Oh! first Time came in crimson shoes—
    With little roses blue and yellow,
    He came with playthings, to amuse,
    And I was then a happy fellow:
    In dancing soles he next skipped by,
    With song and music, sweet and sprightly,
    While Love's eyes o'er Time's shoulder nigh,
    Smiled forth, like stars of heaven, nightly.

    Again Time called in boots and spurs,
    And rode as if his days were numbered;
    The next in slippers, lined with furs,
    In elbow-chair he sat and slumbered:
    I heard the distant music play,
    I thought of hours of love and dancing,
    But Time grew slower, day by day,
    As if with hearse and plume advancing.

    Ah me! but once sweet Childhood comes,
    But once bright Youth to love may guide us,
    Time, year to year, like lightning sums,
    And age and darkness stand beside us:
    Ah well! old Time, life's but a day—
    With some few gleams our path adorning;
    The night will come, whate'er we say—
    It cannot always, Time, be morning.

  18. Reveille

    Up, lad: when the journey’s over
    There’ll be time enough to sleep.

    - A.E Houseman
    Reveille
    by A.E Houseman

    Wake: the silver dusk returning
    Up the beach of darkness brims,
    And the ship of sunrise burning
    Strands upon the eastern rims.

    Wake: the vaulted shadow shatters,
    Trampled to the floor it spanned,
    And the tent of night in tatters
    Straws the sky-pavilioned land.

    Up, lad, up, ’tis late for lying:
    Hear the drums of morning play;
    Hark, the empty highways crying
    ‘Who’ll beyond the hills away?’

    Towns and countries woo together,
    Forelands beacon, belfries call;
    Never lad that trod on leather
    Lived to feast his heart with all.

    Up, lad: thews that lie and cumber
    Sunlit pallets never thrive;
    Morns abed and daylight slumber
    Were not meant for man alive.

    Clay lies still, but blood’s a rover;
    Breath’s a ware that will not keep.
    Up, lad: when the journey’s over
    There’ll be time enough to sleep.

  19. Reflections on the Spending of Time

    Continual employment gives time his wings,
    While busy we heed not his flight;

    - Benjamin Hine
    Reflections on the Spending of Time
    by Benjamin Hine

    The summer is ended and gone,
    How swift have the months flown away!
    So swift I scarce have had time to look on,
    And the incidents note of each passing day.

    Continual employment gives time his wings,
    While busy we heed not his flight;
    Not so with the idler, he saunters and sings,
    And she is too long for him; and the night

    Affords him no pleasure, his sleep is unsound,
    He does nothing to purchase its sweets,
    Like the drone he seldom in employment is found,
    Though he feeds on the daintiest of meats.

    But what of the idler and what of the drone,
    And what of the busiest of men,
    The summer, as I first observed, is gone,
    And will never return again.

    And though others may come in its room,
    And in turn recede from the stage,
    Yet we, though disease should not be our doom,
    Must soon take our departure by age,

    What now most concerns us is, to look back and view,
    See how we have spent or misspent the hours,—
    See whether we have done all the good we could do,
    And eschewed all evil that lay in our power.

    Can our hearts but respond to the truth of the position,
    In peace we may he down to rest,
    Yea, happy in time will be our condition,
    And in the end we may hope to be blest.

  20. He Took Time to Die

    by Amos Russel Wells

    There was an old fellow who never had time
    For a fresh morning look at the Volume sublime,
    Who never had time for the soft hand of prayer
    To smooth out the wrinkles of labor and care
    Who could not find time for that service so sweet
    At the altar of home where the dear ones all meet,
    And never found time with the people of God
    To learn the good way that the fathers have trod:
    But he found time to die;
    Oh, yes!
    He found time to die.

    This busy old fellow, too busy was he
    To linger at breakfast, at dinner, or tea,
    For the merry small chatter of children and wife.
    But led in his marriage a bachelor life;
    Too busy for kisses too busy for play,
    No time to be loving no time to be gay;
    No time to replenish his vanishing health,
    No time to enjoy his swift gathering wealth;
    But he found time to die;
    Oh, yes!
    He found time to die.

    This beautiful world had no beauty for him;
    its colors were black and its sunshine was dim.
    No leisure for woodland, for river, or hill.
    No time in his life just to think and be still;
    No time for his neighbors, no time for his friends.
    No time for those highest immutable ends
    Of the life of a man who is not for a day.
    But for worse or for better, forever and aye;
    But, he found time to die;
    Oh, yes!
    He found time to die.

  21. Inalienable

    Two things are yours that no man's wealth can buy:
    The air, and time;

    - Amos Russel Wells
    Inalienable
    by Amos Russel Wells

    Two things are yours that no man's wealth can buy:
    The air, and time;
    And, having these, all fate you may defy,
    All summits climb.

    While you can draw the fresh and vital breath,
    And own the day,
    No enemy, not Hate, nor Fear, nor Death,
    May bring dismay.

    Breathe deeply! Use the minutes as they fly!
    Trust God in all!
    Thus will you live the life that cannot die,
    Nor ever fall.

  22. Athanasia

    No feeling dies, no sacred sweet emotion,
    No lover's kiss, no children's laugh, no prayer;
    All are a part of time's unending ocean.
    And we shall find them, some day surely there.

    - Amos R. Wells
    Athanasia
    by Amos Russel Wells

    No sunset fades; its palpitating glory
    Of blue and crimson never wholly dies
    But, in the joy of some remembered story,
    Glows to the welcome of immortal skies.

    No blossom perishes; with bloom unfading
    Its petals ope in everlasting light.
    Its infant amaranthine fragrance lading
    The breezes of celestial meadows bright.

    No music ceases; mystically holden,
    Deep in the heart of ether it abides,
    And will return to us the rapture olden
    Over the shining of eternal tides.

    No feeling dies, no sacred sweet emotion,
    No lover's kiss, no children's laugh, no prayer;
    All are a part of time's unending ocean.
    And we shall find them, some day surely there.

    What though our eyes, our ears, our dullard passion
    Follow them not to their abiding home!
    Soon will they glad us in familiar fashion
    When to their deathless mansions we have come.

  23. The Gift of Time

    The gift of time, God's freest boon to men,
    So steadily outpoured through days and years!

    - Anonymous
    The Gift of Time
    by Anonymous

    The gift of time, God's freest boon to men,
    So steadily outpoured through days and years!
    Thus ever let us yield it back again
    ln liberal lives and consecrate careers.

    The gift of time, for which no gold is weighed,
    Nor least petition offered to the Lord,—
    Shall He not still by gratitude be paid,
    And all our thankful days be His reward?

    The gift of time, fit measure of the heart
    Wherewith our Father wholly loves His own,—
    Be it a symbol of our lesser part,
    Just to be wholly His, and His alone!

  24. In Time's Swing

    In Time's Swing
    In Time's Swing
    by Herbert N. Rudeen
    by Lucy Larcom

    Father Time, your footsteps go
    Lightly as the falling snow.
    In your swing I'm sitting, see!
    Push me softly; one, two; three,
    Twelve times only. Like a sheet,
    Spread the snow beneath my feet.
    Singing merrily, let me swing
    Out of winter into spring.

    Swing me out, and swing me in!
    Trees are bare, but birds begin
    Twittering to the peeping leaves,
    On the bough beneath the eaves.
    Wait,—one lilac bud I saw.
    Icy hillsides feel the thaw.
    April chased off March to-day;
    Now I catch a glimpse of May.

    Oh, the smell of sprouting grass!
    In a blur the violets pass.
    Whispering from the wildwood come
    Mayflower's breath and insect's hum.
    Roses carpeting the ground;
    Thrushes, orioles, warbling sound:—
    Swing me low, and swing me high,
    To the warm clouds of July.

    Slower now, for at my side
    White pond lilies open wide.
    Underneath the pine's tall spire
    Cardinal blossoms burn like fire.
    They are gone; the golden-rod
    Flashes from the dark green sod.
    Crickets in the grass I hear;
    Asters light the fading year.

    Slower still! October weaves
    Rainbows of the forest leaves.
    Gentians fringed, like eyes of blue,
    Glimmer out of sleety dew.
    Meadow green I sadly miss:
    Winds through withered sedges hiss.
    Oh, 't is snowing, swing me fast,
    While December shivers past!

    Frosty-bearded Father Time,
    Stop your footfall on the rime!
    Hard you push, your hand is rough;
    You have swung me long enough.
    "Nay, no stopping," say you? Well,
    Some of your best stories tell,
    While you swing me—gently, do!—
    From the Old Year to the New.

  25. The Ruin

    "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.

    - Hannah Flagg Gould
    The Ruin
    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    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!"


    “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:”

    – Matthew 6:20
    The Bible, KJV
  26. If I should die

    by Emily Dickinson

    If I should die,
    And you should live,
    And time should gurgle on,
    And morn should beam,
    And noon should burn,
    As it has usual done;
    If birds should build as early,
    And bees as bustling go, —
    One might depart at option
    From enterprise below!
    'T is sweet to know that stocks will stand
    When we with daisies lie,
    That commerce will continue,
    And trades as briskly fly.
    It makes the parting tranquil
    And keeps the soul serene,
    That gentlemen so sprightly
    Conduct the pleasing scene!

  27. Sweet hours have perished here

    by Emily Dickinson

    Sweet hours have perished here;
    This is a mighty room;
    Within its precincts hopes have played, —
    Now shadows in the tomb.

  28. The Spouting Horn

    O Time! Time! 't is thus,
    Thou art sporting with us;
    Our touch at thy shore proudly spurning.
    To eternity we,
    As the waves to the sea,
    Are broken and restless returning!

    - Hannah Flagg Gould
    The Spouting Horn
    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    On the dark rock's steep
    I stood, where the deep
    By its view, like a mighty spell, bound me;
    While the white foam-wreath
    Was weaving beneath,
    And the breeze from the waters played round me;

    Then wave after wave,
    To a low, narrow cave,
    Came, as rest from a long journey seeking;
    But, "out! out! out!"
    Was the word, which the Spout
    To its guests seemed eternally speaking.

    And each billow seen
    Rolling up, soft and green,
    To the Horn, full of grace in its motion,
    Now wild, as with fright,
    Would return snowy white,
    And rush, roaring, back to the ocean.

    In vain did my eye,
    By its search, seek to spy
    The monarch of this gloomy dwelling,
    Who thus, by the force
    Of his voice, stern and hoarse,
    The deep in her might was repelling.

    What power could be there,
    Shut from light, heat and air,
    I asked, with the dumbness of wonder;
    But, "Out!" was the word,
    That alone could be heard,
    And in sounds like the roaring of thunder!

    O Time! Time! 't is thus,
    Thou art sporting with us;
    Our touch at thy shore proudly spurning.
    To eternity we,
    As the waves to the sea,
    Are broken and restless returning!

  29. I had no time to hate, because

    by Emily Dickinson

    I had no time to hate, because
    The grave would hinder me,
    And life was not so ample I
    Could finish enmity.

    Nor had I time to love; but since
    Some industry must be,
    The little toil of love, I thought,
    Was large enough for me.

  30. A Moment Too Late

    by Anonymous

    A moment too late, my beautiful bird,
    A moment too late are you now;
    The wind has your soft, downy nest disturbed—
    The nest that you hung on the bough.

    A moment too late; that string in your bill,
    Would have fastened it firmly and strong;
    But see, there it goes, rolling over the hill!
    Oh, you staid a moment too long.

    A moment, one moment too late, busy bee;
    The honey has dropped from the flower:
    No use to creep under the petals and see;
    It stood ready to drop for an hour.

    A moment too late; had you sped on your wing,
    The honey would not have been gone;
    Now you see what a very, a very sad thing
    'T is to stay a moment too long.

    Little girl, never be a moment too late,
    It will soon end in trouble or crime;
    Better be an hour early, and stand and wait,
    Than a moment behind the time.

    If the bird and the bee, little boy, were too late,
    Remember, as you play along
    On your way to school, with pencil and slate,
    Never stay a moment too long.

  31. Time

    For time has secrets that no bird has sung,

    - Jones Very
    Time
    by Jones Very

    There is no moment but whose flight doth bring
    Bright clouds and fluttering leaves to deck my bower;
    And I within like some sweet bird must sing
    To tell the story of the passing hour;
    For time has secrets that no bird has sung,
    Nor changing leaf with changing season told;
    They wait the utterance of some nobler tongue
    Like that which spoke in prophet tones of old;
    Then day and night, and month and year shall tell
    The tale that speaks but faint from bird and bough;
    In spirit-songs their praise shall upward swell
    Nor longer pass heaven's gate unheard as now,
    But cause e'en angels' ears to catch the strain,
    And send it back to earth in joy again.

  32. Recessional

    by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts

    Now along the solemn heights
    Fade the Autumn's altar-lights'
    Down the great earth's glimmering chancel
    Glide the days and nights.

    Little kindred of the grass,
    Like a shadow in a glass
    Falls the dark and falls the stillness,—
    We must rise and pass.

    We must rise and follow, wending
    Where the nights and days have ending,—
    Pass in order pale and slow
    Unto sleep extending.

    Little brothers of the clod,
    Soul of fire and seed of sod,
    We must fare into the silence
    At the knees of God.

    Little comrades of the sky
    Wing to wing we wander by,
    Going, going, going, going,
    Softly as a sigh.

    Hark, the moving shapes confer,
    Globe of dew and gossamer,
    Fading and ephemeral spirits
    In the dusk astir.

    Moth and blossom, blade and bee,
    Worlds must go as well as we,
    In the long procession joining
    Mount, and star, and sea.

    Toward the shadowy brink we climb
    Where the round year rolls sublime,
    Rolls, and drops, and falls forever
    In the vast of time;

    Like a plummet plunging deep
    Past the utmost reach of sleep,
    Till remembrance has no longer
    Care to laugh or weep.

  33. Ode on a Grecian Urn

    by John Keats

    Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness,
    Thou foster-child of silence and slow time,
    Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
    A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
    What leaf-fring'd legend haunts about thy shape
    Of deities or mortals, or of both,
    In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
    What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
    What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
    What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?

    Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
    Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
    Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd,
    Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
    Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
    Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
    Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
    Though winning near the goal yet, do not grieve;
    She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
    For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!

    Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
    Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;
    And, happy melodist, unwearied,
    For ever piping songs for ever new;
    More happy love! more happy, happy love!
    For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd,
    For ever panting, and for ever young;
    All breathing human passion far above,
    That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd,
    A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.

    Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
    To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
    Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
    And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?
    What little town by river or sea shore,
    Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
    Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn?
    And, little town, thy streets for evermore
    Will silent be; and not a soul to tell Why thou art desolate, can e'er return.

    O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede
    Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
    With forest branches and the trodden weed;
    Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought
    As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!
    When old age shall this generation waste,
    Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
    Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
    "Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
    Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."

  34. The Water Mill

    Ah! learn to make the most of life, nor lose one happy day,
    For time will ne'er return sweet joys neglected, thrown away;
    Nor leave one tender word unsaid, thy kindness sow broadcast—
    "The mill will never grind again with water that is past."

    - Sarah Doudney
    The Water Mill
    by Sarah Doudney

    Oh! listen to the water mill, through all the livelong day,
    As the clicking of the wheels wears hour by hour away;
    How languidly the autumn wind does stir the withered leaves
    As in the fields the reapers sing, while binding up their sheaves!
    A solemn proverb strikes my mind, and as a spell is cast,
    "The mill will never grind again with water that is past."

    The summer winds revive no more leaves strewn o'er earth and main,
    The sickle nevermore will reap the yellow garnered grain;
    The rippling stream flows on—aye, tranquil, deep and still,
    But never glideth back again to busy water mill;
    The solemn proverb speaks to all with meaning deep and vast,
    "The mill will never grind again with water that is past."

    Ah! clasp the proverb to thy soul, dear loving heart and true,
    For golden years are fleeting by and youth is passing too;
    Ah! learn to make the most of life, nor lose one happy day,
    For time will ne'er return sweet joys neglected, thrown away;
    Nor leave one tender word unsaid, thy kindness sow broadcast—
    "The mill will never grind again with water that is past."

    Oh! the wasted hours of life, that have swiftly drifted by,
    Alas! the good we might have done, all gone without a sigh;
    Love that we might once have saved by a single kindly word,
    Thoughts conceived, but ne'er expressed, perishing unpenned, unheard.
    Oh! take the lesson to thy soul, forever clasp it fast—
    "The mill will never grind again with water that is past."

    Work on while yet the sun doth shine, thou man of strength and will,
    The streamlet ne'er doth useless glide by clicking water mill;
    Nor wait until to-morrow's light beams brightly on thy way,
    For all that thou canst call thine own lies in the phrase "to-day."
    Possession, power and blooming health must all be lost at last—
    "The mill will never grind again with water that is past."

    Oh! love thy God and fellowman, thyself consider last,
    For come it will when thou must scan dark errors of the past;
    Soon will this fight of life be o'er and earth recede from view,
    And heaven in all its glory shine, where all is pure and true.
    Ah! then thou'lt see more clearly still the proverb deep and vast,
    "The mill will never grind again with water that is past."

  35. The Time Is Short

    When time is done with us below,
    Our souls can never die,
    But will partake of joy or woe,
    Beyond the human eye.

    - Eliza Wolcott
    The Time Is Short
    by Eliza and Sarah Wolcott

    We take but little note of time,
    Nor prize the present day;
    Revolving suns, in course sublime,
    For man will not delay.

    We, from the cradle, wander forth,
    And leave our mother's side
    With swelling hopes of little worth
    And think the world is wide

    But hark, the message from above
    Proclaims, "The time is short;"
    Know, youth, it is the voice of love,
    Why will you longer sport.

    O, let this admonition kind,
    This message from above,
    Sink deep in every heart and mind,—
    'Twas sent to us in love.

    When time is done with us below,
    Our souls can never die,
    But will partake of joy or woe,
    Beyond the human eye.

    Then let us seize this little space,
    The time to gain the prize,
    That will be found by men of grace,
    The virtuous and wise.

    The Son of God, whose blood was spilt
    To wash our sins away,
    Was a great sacrifice for guilt,
    Which we could never pay.

    For this, our gratitude we owe
    Forever to the Lord;
    Then let our lips and lives, e'er show
    We love His sacred word.

    O for a heart to grow in grace,
    To live for Christ alone;
    To muse on heaven, that resting place,
    To know as we are known.

  36. Sand of the Desert in an Hour-Glass

    by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    A handful of red sand, from the hot clime
    Of Arab deserts brought,
    Within this glass becomes the spy of Time,
    The minister of Thought.

    How many weary centuries has it been
    About those deserts blown!
    How many strange vicissitudes has seen,
    How many histories known!

    Perhaps the camels of the Ishmaelite
    Trampled and passed it o'er,
    When into Egypt from the patriarch's sight
    His favorite son they bore.

    Perhaps the feet of Moses, burnt and bare,
    Crushed it beneath their tread;
    Or Pharaoh's flashing wheels into the air
    Scattered it as they sped;

    Or Mary, with the Christ of Nazareth
    Held close in her caress,
    Whose pilgrimage of hope and love and faith
    Illumed the wilderness;

    Or anchorites beneath Engaddi's palms
    Pacing the Dead Sea beach,
    And singing slow their old Armenian psalms
    In half-articulate speech;

    Or caravans, that from Bassora's gate
    With westward steps depart;
    Or Mecca's pilgrims, confident of Fate,
    And resolute in heart!

    These have passed over it, or may have passed!
    Now in this crystal tower
    Imprisoned by some curious hand at last,
    It counts the passing hour,

    And as I gaze, these narrow walls expand;
    Before my dreamy eye
    Stretches the desert with its shifting sand,
    Its unimpeded sky.

    And borne aloft by the sustaining blast,
    This little golden thread
    Dilates into a column high and vast,
    A form of fear and dread.

    And onward, and across the setting sun,
    Across the boundless plain,
    The column and its broader shadow run,
    Till thought pursues in vain.

    The vision vanishes! These walls again
    Shut out the lurid sun,
    Shut out the hot, immeasurable plain;
    The half-hour's sand is run!

  37. Today

    by Thomas Carlyle

    So here hath been dawning
    Another blue day;
    Think, wilt thou let it
    Slip useless away?

    Out of Eternity
    This new day is born;
    Into Eternity
    At night will return.

    Behold it aforetime
    No eye ever did;
    So soon it forever
    From all eyes is hid.

    Here hath been dawning
    Another blue day;
    Think, wilt thou let it
    Slip useless away?

  38. Time and Love

    by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    Time flies. The swift hours hurry by
    And speed us on to untried ways;
    New seasons ripen, perish, die,
    And yet love stays.
    The old, old love—like sweet at first,
    At last like bitter wine—
    I know not if it blest or curst,
    Thy life and mine.

    Time flies. In vain our prayers, our tears
    We cannot tempt him to delays;
    Down to the past he bears the years,
    And yet love stays.
    Through changing task and varying dream
    We hear the same refrain,
    As one can hear a plaintive theme
    Run through each strain.

    Time flies. He steals our pulsing youth,
    He robs us of our care-free days;
    He takes away our trust and truth,
    And yet love stays.
    O Time! take love! When love is vain,
    When all its best joys die—
    When only its regrets remain—
    Let love, too, fly.

  39. True Wisdom

    by Lydia Howard Sigourney

    Why break the limits of permitted thought
    To revel in Elysium? thou who bear'st
    Still the stern yoke of this unresting life,
    Its toils, its hazards, and its fears of change?
    Why hang thy frostwork wreath on Fancy's brow,
    When Labour warns thee to thy daily task,
    And Faith doth bid thee gird thyself to run
    A faithful journey to the gate of Heaven?

    Up, 'tis no dreaming-time! awake! awake!
    For He who sits on the High Judge's seat
    Doth in his record note each wasted hour,
    Each idle word. Take heed thy shrinking soul
    Find not their weight too heavy when it stands
    At that dread bar from whence is no appeal.
    For while we trifle the light sand steals on,
    Leaving the hour-glass empty. So thy life
    Glideth away. Stamp wisdom on its hours.

    So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

    – Psalm 90:12
    The Bible, KJV

    Stop, stop, my wheel! Too soon, too soon
    The noon will be the afternoon,
    Too soon to-day be yesterday;
    Behind us in our path we cast
    The broken potsherds of the past,
    And all are ground to dust at last,
    And trodden into clay.

    – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
    The Song of the Potter

  40. Time's Shadow

    by Mathilde Blind

    Thy life, O Man, in this brief moment lies:
    Time's narrow bridge whereon we darkling stand,
    With an infinitude on either hand
    Receding luminously from our eyes.
    Lo, there thy Past's forsaken Paradise
    Subsideth like some visionary strand,
    While glimmering faint, the Future's promised land,
    Illusive from the abyss, seems fain to rise.

    This hour alone Hope's broken pledges mar,
    And Joy now gleams before, now in our rear,
    Like mirage mocking in some waste afar,
    Dissolving into air as we draw near.
    Beyond our steps the path is sunny-clear,
    The shadow lying only where we are.

  41. Only a Matter of Time

    by Christopher Morley

    Down-slipping Time, sweet, swift, and shallow stream,
    Here, like a boulder, lies this afternoon
    Across your eager flow. So you shall stay,
    Deepened and dammed, to let me breathe and be.
    Your troubled fluency, your running gleam
    Shall pause, and circle idly, still and clear:
    The while I lie and search your glassy pool
    Where, gently coiling in their lazy round,
    Unseparable minutes drift and swim,
    Eddy and rise and brim. And I will see
    How many crystal bubbles of slack Time
    The mind can hold and cherish in one Now!

    Now, for one conscious vacancy of sense,
    The stream is gathered in a deepening pond,
    Not a mere moving mirror. Through the sharp
    Correct reflection of the standing scene
    The mind can dip, and cleanse itself with rest,
    And see, slow spinning in the lucid gold,
    Your liquid motes, imperishable Time.

    It cannot be. The runnel slips away:
    The clear smooth downward sluice begins again,
    More brightly slanting for that trembling pause,
    Leaving the sense its conscious vague unease
    As when a sonnet flashes on the mind,
    Trembles and burns an instant, and is gone.

  42. School-Time

    by Anonymous

    School time.
    Children dear,
    Hasten here,
    When the lesson-time is near;
    Hurry fast,
    Don’t be last;
    Minutes now are flying fast.

  43. To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time

    by Robert Herrick

    Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
    Old Time is still a-flying;
    And this same flower that smiles today
    Tomorrow will be dying.

    The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
    The higher he's a-getting,
    The sooner will his race be run,
    And nearer he's to setting.

    That age is best which is the first,
    When youth and blood are warmer;
    But being spent, the worse, and worst
    Times still succeed the former.

    Then be not coy, but use your time,
    And while ye may, go marry;
    For having lost but once your prime,
    You may forever tarry.


“Time wastes too fast: every letter I trace tells me with what rapidity Life follows my pen: the days and hours of it...are flying over our heads like light clouds of a windy day, never to return more—every thing presses on...and every time I kiss thy hand to bid adieu, and every absence which follows it, are preludes to that eternal separation which we are shortly to make.”

– Laurence Sterne
The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman

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