296. Time

Jasper Mayne. 1604-1672

TIME is the feather'd thing,
    And, whilst I praise
The sparklings of thy looks and call them rays,
              Takes wing,
    Leaving behind him as he flies
An unperceived dimness in thine eyes.
    His minutes, whilst they're told,
        Do make us old;
    And every sand of his fleet glass,
    Increasing age as it doth pass,
    Insensibly sows wrinkles there
    Where flowers and roses do appear.
    Whilst we do speak, our fire
    Doth into ice expire,
        Flames turn to frost;
        And ere we can
    Know how our crow turns swan,
    Or how a silver snow
    Springs there where jet did grow,
Our fading spring is in dull winter lost.
    Since then the Night hath hurl'd
        Darkness, Love's shade,
    Over its enemy the Day, and made
             The world
    Just such a blind and shapeless thing
As 'twas before light did from darkness spring,
    Let us employ its treasure
    And make shade pleasure:
Let 's number out the hours by blisses,
And count the minutes by our kisses;
    Let the heavens new motions feel
    And by our embraces wheel;
    And whilst we try the way
    By which Love doth convey
        Soul unto soul,
        And mingling so
    Makes them such raptures know
    As makes them entranced lie
        In mutual ecstasy,
Let the harmonious spheres in music roll!

The Oxford Book of English Verse, HTML edition