Thomas Doubleday (1795-1846)

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The Horologe

Once, by the dusk light of an ancient hall
I saw a horologe. Its minutes fell
Upon the roused ear, with a drowsy knell
That he who passed attended to the call.
I looked: and lo! five antics over all.
One moved, and four were motionless. The one
Was scythed and bald-head Time; and he mowed on,
Sweep after sweep--and each a minute's fall.

The four were kings. Sceptres they bore and globes
And ermined crowns. Before that old man dim
They stood, but not in joy. At sight of Time
They had stiffened into statues in their robes,
Fear-petrified. Let no man envy him
Who smiles at that grave homily sublime!


Go, take thine angle, and with practised line,
Light as the gossamer, the current sweep;
And if thou failest in teh calm still deep,
In the rough eddy may the prize be thine.
Say thou'rt unlucky where the sunbeams shine;
Beneath teh shadow, where the waters creep,
Perchance the monarch of the brook shall leap--
For fate is ever better than design.

Still persevere; the giddiest breeze that blows,
For thee may blow with fame and fortune rife;
Be prosperous--and what reck if it arose
Out of some pebble with the stream at strife;
Or that the light wind dallied with the boughs?
Thou art successful;--such is human life.