Home  »  The Book of Georgian Verse  »  Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832)

William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Georgian Verse. 1909.


Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832)

‘WHY sit’st thou by that ruined hall,

Thou aged carle so stern and gray?

Dost thou its former pride recall,

Or ponder how it paused away?’

‘Know’st thou not me?’ the Deep Voice cried:

‘So long enjoyed, so oft misused—

Alternate, in thy fickle pride,

Desired, neglected, and accused!

‘Before my breath, like blazing flax,

Man and his marvels pass away!

And changing empires wane and wax,

Are founded, flourish, and decay.

‘Redeem mine hours—the space is brief—

While in my glass the sand-grains shiver,

And measureless thy joy or grief,

When Time and thou shalt part forever!’