Procrastination by Charles MacKay

If Fortune with a smiling face
Strew roses on our way,
When shall we stoop to pick them up?
To-day, my love, to-day.
But should she frown with face of care,
And talk of coming sorrow,
When shall we grieve, if grieve we must?
To-morrow, love, to-morrow.

If those who’ve wrong’d us own their fault,
And kindly pity pray,
When shall we listen, and forgive?
To-day, my love, to-day.
But if stern Justice urge rebuke,
And warmth from Memory borrow,
When shall we chide, if chide we dare?
To-morrow, love, to-morrow.

If those to whom we owe a debt
Are harmed unless we pay,
When shall we struggle to be just?
To-day, my love, to-day.
But if our debtor fail our hope,
And plead his ruin thorough,
When shall we weigh his breach of faith?
To-morrow, love, to-morrow.

If love estranged should once again
Her genial smile display,
When shall we kiss her proffered lips?
To-day, my love, to-day.
But if she would indulge regret,
Or dwell with bygone sorrow,
When shall we weep, if weep we must?
To-morrow, love, to-morrow.

For virtuous acts and harmless joys
The minutes will not stay;
We’ve always time to welcome them,
To-day, my love, to-day.
But care, resentment, angry words,
And unavailing sorrow,
Come far too soon, if they appear
To-morrow, love, to-morrow.

From: MacKay, Charles, “Procrastination” in The Harpers Monthly, January 1851, p. 155.
(https://www.unz.com/print/Harpers-1851jan-00155/)

Date: 1851

By: Charles MacKay (1814-1889)

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