Ode To Time

by Elizabeth Bentley

Elizabeth Bentley

O thou, who with the world had'st birth,
Who rul'st despotic o'er the earth,
To whom its life each creature yields;
Man, bird, and beast confess thy pow'r,
The loftiest tree, the humblest flow'r,
The grass that cloaths the fields.
The noblest domes that proudly rise,
The tow'rs that seem to pierce the skies,
The marble pillar falls thy prey;
The massy pile shall strew the ground,
The stately arch, with trophies crown'd,
Thy summons must obey.
The monument of solid brass,
The sculptur'd form away shall pass,
When struck by thy enchanted wand;
The pencil's liveliest tints shall fade,
Shall sink beneath Oblivion's shade,
From thy destructive hand.
E'en Hist'ry's self, whose deathless page
Conveys each truth from age to age,
At her thou oftimes aim'st a blow;
She, who thy purpos'd rage defeats,
As thy rude arm the stroke repeats,
More obsolete shall grow.
Yet, Tyrant, not immortal thou,
But to Eternity shalt bow,
When he resumes his antient sway;
He reign'd supreme ere thou wast nam'd,
Long ere this universe was fram'd,
Before the birth of Day.
Thy being shall no more be known,
Nature shall him her sov'reign own,
And thine and Death's triumphant foe;
Then Heav'n shall sentence human race,
As well or ill they spent thy space,
To endless joy or woe.
Man, thoughtless, inconsistent Man,
Who oft laments his shorten'd span,
Of thy slow flight does he complain?
His fleeting days no more appear,
E'en now another transient year
Is added to thy train.
may we ne'er thy worth despise,
But seize each moment ere it flies,
And to the noblest ends employ;
Then shall we, when thy reign is o'er,
Quick wafted to th' empyreal shore,
Unfading bliss enjoy.

Last updated January 14, 2019