Before the songs I joy in singing,
So young, such wafts of perfume bringing,
Endured the brunt the world allows,
Far from the crowd and all its crushing,
Ah! how they bloomed, a garland blushing,
How green and fragrant, on my brows!
Now torn from off the tree that beareth,
Flowers which the blighting northwind teareth,
— Like a dream's leavings pitiable —
They wander, scattered hither and thither,
In dustiness and mud to wither,
At the winds' and the waters' will.
And like dead leaves in autumn showered,
I see them, of their bloom deflowered,
Blown all along the barren lea;
The while a crowd that presses round me,
And treads to earth the wreath that crowned me,
Goes laughing at the naked tree.