by William Henry Davies (1871 - 1940)

The ways of Time
Language: English 
[As far as my own heart's concerned, 
I give old Time contempt ; but when 
I ask for girls and boys, he brings 
Me grey-haired dames and men. 

I ask to see a leafy house, 
Where Nature almost laughed her way 
Right in : he shows me a stone block, 
Bare of a leafy spray.]1

As butterflies are but winged flowers, 
Half sorry for their change, who fain, 
So still and long they lie on leaves, 
Would be thought flowers again 

E'en so my thoughts, that should expand, 
And grow to higher themes above, 
Return like butterflies to lie 
On the old things I love. 

I would not care one jot how soon 
Death came, had I one day at last 
To be again the boy I was, 
With children of the past. 

Age ofttimes grudges me good day ; 
Children hallo with pleasant stare : 
When I was young one child ne'er failed 
She with the longest hair.

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1 These two stanzas were omitted from later publications of this poem.


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2009-01-15
Line count: 24
Word count: 159