The air is bright with hues of light

   And rich with laughter and with singing:

Young hearts beat high in ecstasy,

And banners wave, and bells are ringing:

But silence falls with fading day,

And there’s an end to mirth and play.

         Ah, well-a-day

Rest your old bones, ye wrinkled crones!

   The kettle sings, the firelight dances.

Deep be it quaffed, the magic draught

That fills the soul with golden fancies!

For Youth and Pleasance will not stay,

And ye are withered, worn, and gray.

         Ah, well-a-day!

O fair cold face!  O form of grace,

   For human passion madly yearning!

O weary air of dumb despair,

From marble won, to marble turning!

“Leave us not thus!” we fondly pray.

“We cannot let thee pass away!”

         Ah, well-a-day!

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