The Time Was—and Is.

Years, many years have pass’d,1
Since I sat beside this board ;2
Then, as now, the feast was spread,3
And the ruby wine was pour’d.4
And the cup and song went round,5
And the mirth was loud and light ;6
The song and cup still circle—7
But they’re not the same to-night.8
Ten sat around the board,—9
What friends are but in youth,—10
When we feel before we think,11
And lips from hearts learn truth.12
Yet some of them are here,13
Links of a broken chain ;14
Only recalling ties15
Never to join again.16
Alter’d and cold our hearts—17
There’s shadow on each brow :18
Of the glow of former years19
There’s not a vestige now.20
Interests have jarr’d,—the world21
Has its cold lesson taught ;22
And hope from memory’s page23
Its darken’d likeness caught.24
And the grave has had its prey—25
Strangers are seated here ;26
And every stranger’s face27
Recalls a thought of fear.28
It tells of those who sleep29
Beneath the funeral stone ;30
And dark Death’s record is31
When it speaks of our own.32
But away, let song burst forth—33
The lighted goblet shine34
And deep, deep drain the flood35
Of the crimson Lethe-wine.36
Break, break the faithless cup ;37
No spell ’t has to restore38
Feelings, and friends of youth,39
When that youth is no more.40