While Yet We May

Ancient, wrinkled dames and jealous -
They whom joyless Age downcasts -
And the sere, gray-bearded fellows
Who would fain re-live their pasts -
These, the ancients, grimly tell us:
'Vows are vain, and no love lasts.'

Fleeting years fulfil Fate's sentence,
Eyes must dim, and hair turn gray,
Age bring wrinkles, p'rhaps repentance;
Youth shall quickly hie away,
And that time when youth has went hence,
We - and love - have had our day.

Let the world, and fuming, fretting,
Busy worldlings pass us by,
Bent on piles of lucre getting -
They shall lose it when they die;
Past and future, sweet! forgetting -
Seize the present ere it fly.

Your bright eyes are soft and smiling,
Pouting lips are moist and red,
And your whispers wondrous wiling -
Surely they would quick the dead -
And these hours they're now beguiling,
All too hasty will have fled.

Years may bring a dole of sorrow,
Time enough to fast and pray,
From the present pleasures borrow,
Let the distant future pay;
Leave the penance for the morrow,
Sweetheart! love and laugh to-day.