Why Should the Spirit of Mortal Be Proud?
Oh! why should the spirit of mortal De proud?
Like a swift-fleeting meteor, a fast-flying cloud,
A flash of the lightning, a break of the wave,
He passeth from life to his rest in the grave.
The leaves of the oak and the willow shall fade,
Be scattered around, and together be laid;
And the young and the old, and the low and the high,
Shall molder to dust, and together shall lie.
The infant a mother attended and loved;
The mother that infant's affection who proved;
The husband, that mother anil infant who blest—
Each, all, are away to their dwellings to rest.
The hand of the king that the scepter hath borne,
The brow of the priest that the miter has worn,
The eye of the sage, and the heart of the brave,
Are hidden and lost in the depths of the grave.
The peasant, whose lot was to sow and to reap,
The herdsman, who climbed with his goats up the steep,
The beggar, who wandered in search of his bread,
Have failed away like the grass that we tread.
So the multitude goes—like the flower or the weed
That withers away to let others succeed;
So the multitude comes—even those we behold,
To repeat every tale that has often been told."
For we are the same our fathers have been;
We see the same sights our fathers have seen;
We drink the same stream, we view the same sun,
And run the same course our fathers have run.
The thoughts we are thinking, our fathers would think;
From the death we are shrinking, our fathers would shrink;
To the life we are clinging, they also would cling;
But it speeds from us all like a bird on the wing.
They loved—but the story we can not unfold;
They scorned—but the heart of the haughty is cold;
They grieved—but no wail from their slumber will come;
They joyed—but the tongue of their gladness is dumb.
Yea! hope and despondency, pleasure and pain,
Are mingled together in sunshine and rain;
And the smile and the tear, the song and the dirge,
Still follow each other, like surge upon surge.
'Tis a wink of an eye— 'tis the draught of a breath—
From the blossom of health to the paleness of death.
From the gilded salon to the bier and the shroud—
Oh! why should the spirit of mortal be proud ?