CAPRICIOUS foe to human joy, Still varying with the fleeting day; With thee the purest raptures cloy, The fairest prospects fade away; Nor worth, nor pow'r thy wings can bind, All earthly pleasures fly with THEE; Inconstant as the wav'ring wind That plays upon the summer sea.
I court thee not, ungentle guest, For I have e'er been doom'd to find Life's gayest hours but idly drest, With sweets that pall the sick'ning mind: When smiling HOPE with placid mien, Around my couch did fondly play; Too oft thy aëry form I've seen, On DOWNY pinions glide away.
But when, perplex'd with pain or care, My couch with THORNS was scatter'd round; When the pale priestess of DESPAIR My mind in fatal spells had bound; When the dull hours no joy could bring, No bliss my weary fancy prove; I mark'd thy leaden, pond'rous wing, With TARDY pace, unkindly move.
IF SUCH THY GIFTS, O Time! for thee My sated heart shall ne'er repine; I bow content to FATE'S decree, And with thy thorns thy roses twine; Yet e'er thy fickle reign shall end, The balmy sweets of FRIENDSHIP'S hour, I'll with my cup of sorrow blend, And smile, REGARDLESS OF THY POW'R.