Ella Wheeler Wilcox

(5 November 1850 - 30 October 1919 / Johnstown Center / Rock County / Wisconsin)

Idler's Song


I sit in the twilight dim
At the close of an idle day,
And I list to the soft sweet hymn,
That rises far away,
And dies on the evening air.
Oh, all day long,
They sing their song,
Who toil in the valley there.

But never a song sing I,
Sitting with folded hands,
The hours pass me by -
Dropping their golden sands -
And I list, from day to day,
To the 'tick, tick, tock'
Of the old brown clock,
Ticking my life away.

And I see the twilight fade,
And I see the night come on,
And then, in the gloom and shade,
I weep for the day that's gone -
Weep and wail in pain,
For the misspent day
That has flown away,
And will not come again.

Another morning beams,
And I forget the last,
And I sit in idle dreams
Till the day over - past.
Oh, the toiler's heart is glad!
When the day is gone
And the night comes on,
But mine is sore and sad.

For I dare not look behind!
No shining, golden sheaves
Can I ever hope to find:
Nothing but withered leaves.
Ah! dreams are very sweet!
But will not please
If only these
I lay at the Master's feet.

And what will the Master say
To dreams and nothing more?
Oh, idler, all the day!
Think, ere thy life is o'er!
And when the day grows late,
Oh, soul of sin!
Will He let you in,
There at the pearly gate?

Oh, idle heart, beware!
On, to the field of strife!
On, to the valley there!
And live a useful life!
Up, do not wait a day!
For the old brown clock,
With its 'tick, tick, tock, '
Is ticking your life away.

Submitted: Monday, May 19, 2003

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