1 What is this passing scene
A peevish April-day?
A little sun--a little rain--
And then night sweeps along the plain,
And all things fade away:
Man (soon discuss'd)
Yields up his trust,
And all his hopes and fears lie with him in the dust!
2 Oh, what is beauty's power?
It flourishes and dies;
Will the cold earth it's silence break,
To tell how soft, how smooth a cheek
Beneath it's surface lies?
Mute, mute is all
O'er beauty's fall;
Her praise resounds no more, when mantled in her pall.
3 The most belov'd on earth
Not long survives to-day;
So music past is obsolete,
And yet 'twas sweet, 'twas passing sweet,
But now 'tis gone away:
Thus does the shade,
In memory fade,
When in forsaken tomb the form belov'd is laid!
4 Then since this world is vain,
And volatile and fleet,
Why should I lay up earthly joys,
Where rust corrupts and moth destroys,
And cares and sorrows eat?
Why fly from ill
With anxious skill,
When soon this hand will freeze, this throbbing heart lie still?
White, Henry Kirke, a gifted English poet who died early in life, was born in Nottingham, England, March 21, 1785. Very early he manifested a remarkable love for books and a decided talent for composition. But his parents were poor, and he was apprenticed in early boyhood to a stocking weaver, from which uncongenial servitude he escaped as soon as he could and began the study of law; but later he was converted and felt called to the ministry. The story of his conversion from deism to Christianity is briefly but beautifully told in the poem titled "The Star of Bethlehem." He entered St. John's College, Cambridge, in 1805 as a servitor; but died October 19, 1806, in the second year of his college course, when only twenty-one years of age. In… Go to person page >