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Time Marches On

Table of Contents

  1. One Step and Then Another by Anonymous
  2. Twelve Months in a Row by Annette Wynne
  3. Death and Life by Emily Dickinson
  4. The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  5. The Old Mill by the River by Isaac McLellan
  6. Oblivion by John Charles McNeill
  7. Mystery by Dudley Hughes Davis
  8. Ozymandias of Egypt by Percy Bysshe Shelley
  9. The Deserted Barn by Arthur Crew Inman
  10. Ode by Arthur O'Shaughnessy
  11. The Old Mill by J. R. Eastwood
  12. Grey Woods by Alice Corbin
  13. Halcyon Days by Ruby Archer
  14. The Paradox of Time by Austin Dobson
  15. The Stream's Lesson by Frances A. Shaw

You may delay, but time will not.

– Ben Franklin
Poor Richard's Almanack
  1. One Step and Then Another

    by Anonymous

    One step and then another,
    And the longest walk is ended;
    One stitch and then another,
    And the largest rent is mended.

    One brick upon another,
    And the highest wall is made;
    One flake upon another,
    And the deepest snow is laid.

  2. Twelve Months in a Row

    by Annette Wynne

    Twelve months in a row,
    Use them well and let them go;
    Welcome them without a fear,
    Let them go without a tear—
    Twelve months in a year;
    Greet the passing miracle,
    Spring and summer beautiful,
    Autumn, winter, gliding on,
    Glorious seasons quickly gone—
    God's treasures in a row,
    Take them, love them, let them go!

  3. Death and Life

    by Emily Dickinson

    Apparently with no surprise
    To any happy flower,
    The frost beheads it at its play
    In accidental power.
    The blond assassin passes on,
    The sun proceeds unmoved
    To measure off another day
    For an approving God.

  4. The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls

    by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    The tide rises, the tide falls,
    The twilight darkens, the curlew calls;
    Along the sea-sands damp and brown
    The traveler hastens toward the town,
    And the tide rises, the tide falls.

    Darkness settles on roofs and walls,
    But the sea, the sea in the darkness calls;
    The little waves, with their soft, white hands,
    Efface the footprints in the sands,
    And the tide rises, the tide falls.

    The morning breaks; the steeds in their stalls
    Stamp and neigh, as the hostler calls;
    The day returns, but nevermore
    Returns the traveler to the shore,
    And the tide rises, the tide falls.

  5. The Old Mill by the River

    by Isaac McLellan

    Here in the years when life was bright
    With dewy mornings and sunset light,
    In the pleasant season of leafy June,
    In each idle, holiday afternoon
    I lov'd to wander with willow wand—
    I lov'd on the river border to stand
    And take the trout or the yellow bream
    That leap'd, that glanc'd athwart the stream.

    With broken window, with hingeless door,
    Thro' which the slanting sunbeams pour;
    With leaning gable, and settling wall,
    O'er which the draperied ivies fall;
    With rafter moldy, worm-eaten beam,
    O'er which the silken cobwebs stream,
    Fast by the river-banks serene
    The old forsaken mill is seen.
    Its roof shows many a chasm and rent,
    Its creaking vane is crack'd and bent,
    In and out the swallows fly
    Under the eaves their dwellings lie.
    The leather-wing'd bats, when day is dim,
    Thro' vacant rooms and granaries skim;
    Its shingles that ages ago were new,
    Splendid with painters' lavish hue,
    Are faded now and swing in the gale,
    Scarce held by the loosen'd rusty nail;
    The clapboards rattle and clank amain
    In gusts of the snow-fall and the rain,
    For the dust of many a lapsing year
    Hath writ its wasteful chronicle here.
    The dam o'er which the waters pour
    Is settling and crumbling by the shore;
    The slippery logs and mossy stone
    Yield to the current one by one;
    And swift thro' many a rent abyss
    The spouting rivulets foam and hiss,
    And soon must the crazy fabric decay,
    And the torrent sweep uncheck'd away.
    The water-wheel so black and vast,
    With beam like a battle-vessel's mast
    That once would churn with mighty sweep
    The boiling waters so dark and deep,
    Lies now a wreck in humbled pride,
    Trembling with each assault of the tide.
    Under the crumbling, blacken'd wheel
    The crystal bubbles circle and reel;
    Over and under the eddies boil
    Round molder'd timber and rotting post;
    In many a circling ripple they coil
    In sudden plunge, in wild turmoil,
    Now seen an instant, then quickly lost.

  6. Oblivion

    by John Charles McNeill

    Green moss will creep
    Along the shady graves where we shall sleep.

    Each year will bring
    Another brood of birds to nest and sing.

    At dawn will go
    New ploughmen to the fields we used to know.

    Night will call home
    The hunter from the hills we loved to roam.

    She will not ask,
    The milkmaid, singing softly at her task,

    Nor will she care
    To know if I were brave or you were fair.

    No one will think
    What chalice life had offered us to drink,

    When from our clay
    The sun comes back to kiss the snow away.

  7. Mystery

    by Dudley Hughes Davis

    A little brook, with beauties grand,
    Comes rippling from a mountain spring,
    And winds its way o'er stone and sand
    Through woods where birds melodious sing.

    Through time unknown to days of man,
    This murmuring stream has found its way,
    And cut a ravine through the land,
    A link in nature's grand display.

    And interwoven timber bends
    In wreathy arches o'er the walls,
    Through which this little brook descends,
    To make its leap down o'er the falls.

    It rushes down its winding stair,
    A bold and sparkling silvery sheet;
    It sends its mist into the air,
    And forms a rainbow at its feet.

    By little streams the chasm cliff
    Is worn to grains of drifting sand,
    And angry waters foam and drift
    Through wonderous wall not made by hand.

    And man looks back through time unknown
    To date the wonderous streamlet hand,
    Which sculptured chasm wall of stone,
    And wore its chips to grains of sand.

    But could the work a life had done
    Be seen by eves of mortal man,
    The sands that crumble one by one
    Could equal not the busy hand.

    Though life is short man, leaves the stage,
    As though his wonderous work was done,
    Another man, another age,
    Proves that his work has just begun.

    So like the mystic cataract stream
    Which flows a myriad years through sand,
    The world's adrift by light and stream,
    The work of ages, brain and hand.

  8. Ozymandias of Egypt

    by Percy Bysshe Shelley

    I met a traveller from an antique land
    Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
    Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
    And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed;
    And on the pedestal these words appear:

    'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
    Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
    The lone and level sands stretch far away;"

  9. The Deserted Barn

    by Arthur Crew Inman

    Behind the barn, the sunlight seems
    To flood the long-forgotten field
    With golden calm. The forest curves,
    An ampitheatre of living green,
    High galleried with spruce and pine,
    To make enclosure of the whole
    Above the tangled grass, grown rank
    With weeds, piebald yellow and white
    With daisies, mustard, and buttercups,
    The busy insect world quickens
    The air with tiny life. Somewhere,
    Invisible, a whitethroat sings.
    And ever, against a drop of grey
    Where rises to its eaves the barn,
    A myriad swallows dart and swoop,
    Exquisite boomerangs of flight.
    Atop the roof a weather-cock
    Still stands with neck and wings upthrust
    As if about to shrill his taunt,
    Pathetic now, that once this world
    Of the crumbling human enterprise
    Which he has surveyed so long—was man's.

  10. Ode

    by Arthur O'Shaughnessy

    We are the music-makers,
    And we are the dreamers of dreams,
    Wandering by lone sea-breakers
    And sitting by desolate streams;
    World losers and world forsakers,
    On whom the pale moon gleams:
    Yet we are the movers and shakers
    Of the world for ever, it seems.

    With wonderful deathless ditties
    We build up the world’s great cities.
    And out of a fabulous story
    We fashion an empire’s glory:
    One man with a dream, at pleasure,
    Shall go forth and conquer a crown;
    And three with a new song’s measure
    Can trample an empire down.

    We, in the ages lying
    In the buried past of the earth,
    Built Nineveh with our sighing,
    And Babel itself with our mirth;
    And o’erthrew them with prophesying
    To the old of the new world’s worth;
    For each age is a dream that is dying,
    Or one that is coming to birth.

  11. The Old Mill

    by J. R. Eastwood

    One hundred years the mill has stood:
    One hundred years the dashing flood
    Has turned the wheel with roaring sound,
    Through foaming waters, round and round.

    One hundred years: and overhead
    The same broad roof of blue is spread;
    And in the meadows, bright and green,
    The miller's children still are seen.

    And thus the world is still the same:
    The sunset clouds are turned to flame;
    And while we live, and when we die,
    The lark still carols in the sky.

    And others rise to fill our place;
    We sleep, and others run the race:
    And earth beneath and skies above
    Are still the same; and God is love.

  12. Grey Woods

    by Alice Corbin Henderson

    Silence is heavy and somber in the grey woods,
    The leaves of time drop stealthily one by one;
    Dim twilight comes with a shadowy reaping hook
    To gather the fading daylight and dead leaves.
    Though no winds blow in the grey woods of my heart,
    The leaves of time drop stealthily one by one;
    A shadowy twilight falls over the shadowy woods—
    My body is too frail for its great moods.

  13. Halcyon Days

    by Ruby Archer

    My days drift by like white-winged craft
    Upon the summer seas,
    Manned all with fancies, fore and aft,
    And captains of caprice.

    Yo ho, yo-e-ho,
    Let gentle winds blow,
    With ever the water blue.
    Yo ho, yo-e-ho,
    For how do we know
    We could weather a tempest through?

  14. The Paradox of Time

    by Austin Dobson

    Time goes, you say? Ah no!
    Alas, Time stays, we go;
    Or else, were this not so,
    What need to chain the hours,
    For Youth were always ours?
    Time goes, you say?—ah no!

    Ours is the eyes' deceit
    Of men whose flying feet
    Lead through some landscape low;
    We pass, and think we see
    The earth's fixed surface flee:—
    Alas, Time stays,—we go!

    Once in the days of old,
    Your locks were curling gold,
    And mine had shamed the crow.
    Now, in the self-same stage,
    We've reached the silver age;
    Time goes, you say?—ah no!

    Once, when my voice was strong,
    I filled the woods with song
    To praise your "rose" and "snow";
    My bird, that sang, is dead;
    Where are your roses fled?
    Alas, Time stays,—we go!

    See, in what traversed ways,
    What backward Fate delays
    The hopes we used to know;
    Where are our old desires?—
    Ah, where those vanished fires?
    Time goes, you say?—ah no!

    How far, how far, O Sweet,
    The past behind our feet
    Lies in the even-glow!
    Now, on the forward way,
    Let us fold hands, and pray;
    Alas, Time stays,—we go!

  15. The Stream's Lesson

    by Frances A. Shaw

    See'st thou a joy of happy days
    Flit from thy love and yearning,
    'Tis well into a stream to gaze,
    Where all goes past returning.

    To read the lesson written here;
    No boon that mortals cherish,
    No love, no friendship, howe'er dear,
    But on time's tide shall perish.

    Look steadfastly, and surely know,
    Bereft one, 'mid thy weeping,
    That howe'er fast thy tears may flow,
    Faster the tide is sweeping.

    Learn that oblivion follows grief,
    For lost days, friend or lover;
    That life, like joy and woe is brief,—
    It too is passing over.

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