In all the actions that a man performs, some part of his life
passeth. We die with doing that for which only our sliding life
was granted. Nay, though we do nothing, Time keeps his con-
stant pace, and flies as fast in idlenesse as in employment. Whe-
ther we play, or labour, or sleep, or dance, or study, the sunne
posteth, and the sand runnes
—Owen Feltham.
Wearied with hearing folks cry1
That Time would incessantly fly,2
Said I to myself, “I don’t see3
Why Time should not wait upon me ;4
I will not be carried away,5
Whether I like it, or nay.”6
There is not a labour more vain,7
Than turning the hour-glass again !8
I said— “ I will read and will write,9
And labour all day and all night,10
And Time will so heavily load,11
That he cannot but wait on the road ;”12
But I found that, balloon-like in size,13
The more fill’d, the faster he flies ;14
And I could not the trial maintain,15
Without turning the hour-glass again !16
Then said I— “ If Time has so flown17
When laden, I’ll leave him alone ;18
And I think that he cannot but stay,19
When he’s nothing to carry away !”20
So I sate, folding my hands,21
Watching the mystical sands,22
As they fell, grain after grain,23
Till I turn’d up the hour-glass again.24
Then I cried in a rage, “ Time shall stand !”25
The hour-glass I smash’d with my hand ;26
My watch into atoms I broke,27
And the sun-dial hid with a cloak !28
Now, I shouted aloud, “ Time is done !29
When suddenly down went the sun ;30
And I found, to my cost and my pain,31
I might buy a new hour-glass again !32
Whether we wake or we sleep,33
Whether we carol or weep,34
The sun, with his planets in chime,35
Marketh the going of Time ;36
But Time, in a still better trim,37
Marketh the going of him !38
One link in an infinite chain,39
Is this turning the hour-glass again !40
The robes of the day and the night41
Are not wove of mere darkness and light :42
We read that, at Joshua’s will,43
The sun for a Time once stood still !44
So that Time by this measure to try,45
Is petitio principii ;46
For Time’s scythe is going amain,47
Though he turn not his hour-glass again !48
And yet, after all, what is Time,49
Renown’d in reason and rhyme ?—50
A phantom, a name, a notion,51
That measures duration or motion ?52
Or but an apt term in the lease53
Of beings, who know they must cease ?—54
The hand utters more than the brain,55
When turning the hour-glass again !56
The king in a carriage may ride,57
And the beggar may crawl at his side ;58
But still, in the general race,59
They are travelling all the same pace60
And houses, and trees, and high-way,61
Are in the same gallop as they :62
We mark our own steps in the train,63
When turning the hour-glass again !64
People complain, with a sigh,65
How terribly chroniclers lie ;66
But there is one pretty right,67
Heard in the dead of the night,68
Calling aloud to the people,69
Out of St Dunstan’s steeple,70
Telling them under the vane,71
Each to turn up his hour-glass again !72


Masters ! we live here for ever,73
Like so many fish in a river ;74
We may mope, tumble, or glide,75
And eat one another beside ;76
But whithersoever we go,77
The river will flow, flow, flow !78
And now that I’ve ended my strain, 79
Pray turn me that hour-glass again !80
[The above appears amongst the original poetry in the new
volume of a tastefully conducted annual work, Fulcher’s Ladies’
Memorandum-Book and Poetical Miscellany
; published by G. W.
Fulcher, Sudbury ; and Suttaby & Co., London. ]