Scottish Poetry Selection
- The River of Life

As we grow older, time seems to speed up - but then it always does when we are enjoying ourselves! In this poem, however, Thomas Campbell seems to think that it is better if time passes more slowly in youth as he thinks that is a better period of life. It takes all sorts to make a world...

   The River of Life

The more we live, more brief appear
   Our life's succeeding stages;
A day to childhood seems a year,
   And years like passing ages.

The gladsome current of our youth,
   Ere passion yet disorders,
Steals lingering like a river smooth
   Along its grassy borders.

But as the careworn cheek grows wan,
   And sorrow's shafts fly thicker,
Ye stars, that measure life to man,
   Why seem your courses quicker?

When joys have lost their bloom and breath,
   And life itself is vapid,
Why, as we reach the Falls of Death
   Feel we its tide more rapid?

It may be strange - yet who would change
   Time's course to slower speeding,
When one by one our friends have gone,
   And left our bosoms bleeding?

Heaven gives our years of fading strength
   Indemnifying fleetness;
And those of youth, a seeming length,
   Proportion'd to their sweetness.

Return to the Index of Scottish Poetry Selection

Where else would you like to go in Scotland?

Separator line