Though I am feeble, yet, dear Death,

Awhile let me remain!

'Old man--thy locks are white as snow--

Still thou art loth with me to go:

But come--thy pray'r is vain!'


I am in manhood's prime--wouldst thou

Then break my staff to-day?--

'The tall pine on the mountain's side,

By lightning struck, falls in its pride,

My call thou must obey!'


I am a maiden--beauteous, young,

Wouldst hide me in the tomb?

'Thou, for this world, art all too fair,

The bright rose never withers where

Thou soon again shalt bloom!'


So soon, a hero canst thou snatch

From glory's high career?

'I come, clad as a warrior proud--

What wouldst thou? 'neath my mailed shroud

No fleshless bones appear.'


Extinguish not--oh yet--dear Death!

Love's fire--that burns so bright!

'Oh! I can hold in close embrace,

And though my mouth no warm lips grace,

Behold--my teeth are white!'


Wouldst tear me from my golden hoard

With merciless commands?

'Follow! beneath the earth's black mould

Gold never rusts--and thy dear gold

Shall shine in others' hands!'


What! from his country's councils drag

The statesman proud? away!--

'I call thee to a court more high,

Where angel-forms, above the sky,

Throng round God's throne alway!


Against my ancient 'scutcheon--ha!--

To raise thy scythe dar'st thou?

'Adam--the noblest of thy race--

Was made to bow before my face,

Thy farce is ended now.'


Thy vengeance wreck not thou on me.

Behold--this brow a crown adorns!

'Vain is thy claim--thy power is o'er--

Death on the cross God's own Son bore;

Think on His crown of thorns!'


We are so little--us at least

From the dark grave--oh, spare!

'Does not your Heav'nly Father love

Young children? Ye shall sport above

With winged cherubs there.'


Call not the anxious mother hence

From those her cares employ!

'Come--at Heaven's window thou shalt stand

And gaze on the beloved band,

And thou shalt weep with joy!


'For though my form is frightful--I

Am less your foe than friend,

I bring ye all but transient woe;

Your souls my scythe may never mow,

These shall to God ascend!'