Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
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Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
 
Sun-Dial
By James Montgomery (1771–1854)
 
THE SHADOW on the dial’s face,
That steals from day to day,
With slow, unseen, unceasing pace,
Moments and months, and years away;
This shadow, which, in every clime,        5
Since light and motion first began,
Hath held its course sublime;
What is it? mortal man!
It is the scythe of Time.
Not only o’er the dial’s face,        10
This silent phantom, day by day,
With slow, unseen, unceasing pace,
Steals moments, months, and years away;
From hoary rock and aged tree,
From proud Palmyra’s mouldering walls,        15
From Teneriffe, towering o’er the sea,
From every blade of grass it falls;
And still where’er a shadow sweeps,
The scythe of time destroys,
And man at every footstep weeps        20
O’er evanescent joys.
 
 
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