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CLIV

My glass is half unspent; Forbear t'arrest

My thriftless day too soon: my poor request

Is that my glass may run but out the rest.

My time-devoured minutes will be done

Without Thy help; see, see how swift they run;

Cut not my thread, before my thread be spun.

The gain's not great I purchase by this stay;

'What loss sustain'st Thou by so small delay,

To whom ten thousand years are but a day?

124

My following eye can hardly make a shift

To count my wingéd hours; they fly so swift,

They scarce deserve the bounteous name of gift.

The secret wheels of hurrying Time do give

So short a warning, and so fast they drive,

That I am dead before I seem to live.

And what's a Life? a weary Pilgrimage,

Whose glory in one day doth fill the stage

With Childhood, Manhood, and decrepit Age.

And what's a Life? the flourishing array

Of the proud Summer meadow, which today

Wears her green plush, and is tomorrow hay.

And what's a Life? a blast sustain'd with clothing,

Maintain'd with food, retain'd with vile self-loathing:

Then weary of itself, again'd to nothing.

Read on this dial, how the shades devour

My short-lived winter's day; hour eats up hour,

Alas, the total's but from eight to four.

Behold these Lilies (which Thy hands have made

Fair copies of my life, and open laid

To view) how soon they droop, how soon they fade!

Shade not that dial, night will blind too soon;

My nonaged day already points to noon;

How simple is my suit! how small my boon!

Nor do I beg this slender inch, to while

The time away, or falsely to beguile

My thoughts with joy; here's nothing worth a smile:

No, no; 'tis not to please my wanton ears

With frantic mirth, I beg but hours, not years;

And what Thou giv'st me, I will give to tears.

Draw not that soul which would be rather led;

That Seed has yét not broke my Serpent's head:

O shall I die before my sins are dead?

Behold these rags; am I a fitting guest

To taste the dainties of Thy royal feast,

With hands and face unwash'd, ungirt, unblest?

First, let the Jordan streams, (that find supplies

From the deep fountain of my heart), arise,

And cleanse my spots, and clear my leprous eyes.

I have a world of sins to be lamented;

I have a sea of tears that must be vented:

O spare till then!--and then I die contented.

125
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