William James Jones

Life

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Life at best is but a dream,
We're launched upon a rapid stream,
Gushing from some unknown source,
Rushing swiftly on its course,
Save when amid some painful scene,
And then it flows calm and serene,
That we may gaze in mute despair
On every hated object there.

Fortune our bark and hope our chart,
With childish glee on our voy'ge we start,
The boat glides merrily o'er the wave.
But ah! there's many a storm to brave,
And many a dang'rous reef to clear,
And rushing rapid o'er which to steer.

Anon the stream grows wide and deep,
While here and there wild breakers leap,
O'er rocks half hidden by the flood,
Where for ages they have stood,
Upon whose bleak and rugged crest,
Many a proud form sank to rest,
And many a heart untouched by care
Laid its unstained offering there.

Ah! they have met a happier lot,
Whose bark was wrecked ere they forgot
The pleasing scenes of childhood's years,
'Mid that tempestuous vale of tears
Which farther on begirts the stream,
Where phantom hopes like lightning gleam
Through the murky air, and flit around
The brain with hellish shrieking sound
Conjuring up each mad'ning thought,
With black despair or malice fraught.

Swiftly, on in our course we go
To where sweetest flow'rs are hanging low
We stretch our hand their stems to clasp
But ah! they're crush'd within our grasp,
While forward th' rushing stream flows fast
And soon the beauteous scene is past.

At last we view another sight,
The shore with drifted snow is white,
The stream grows dark and soon we feel
An icy coldness o'er us steal,
We cast our eyes ahead and see
The ocean of Eternity.

When once amid its peaceful waves
No holier joy the bosom craves--
Ten thousand stars are shining bright
Yet one reflects a purer light--
No sooner does its glowing blaze
Attract the spirit's wand'ring gaze,
Than all is turned to joy we see--
That star is Immortality.

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