The almond tree,—the almond tree—how lovely is its bloom,
It flourishes and fades away before the summer noon;
Alas! it is the symbol sad of beauty's young decay,
The flower of life whose early glow will quickly pass away.
Oh! cherish it—oh! cherish it—and drink its perfum'd breath,
And bind it round thy forehead fair, ere yet it droop in death;
Soon will its leaves forsake the stem, tho' gathered by the Hours,
And, like our pleasures, day by day, lose all its short-lived flow'rs.
Yes! we will taste thine odorous sweets thus swiftly wafted by,
And claim from Zephyrus thy tear—thy fondest, latest sigh,
Drain from the laughing chalices the honied nectar there;
Oh! why should death and pale decay e'er blight a thing so fair?
Like morning flower or vision bright is beauty's shortlived bloom,
It vanishes before the sun proclaims the hour of noon;
Night closes in, and like a tomb it veils the beauteous form,
And on the morrow brighter flowers the hills and vales adorn.
The wings of Time untired sail on, and cheeks are waxing pale,
And all the days are vanishing and spring begins to fail;
And every flower the soft wind fans, speaks thus and seems to say—
“Oh! hasten to enjoy us ere we—we—too fade away.”
And since they must—the beautiful—droop o'er their common urn,
And perish from the bright blue sky, no, never to return,
Spare—spare, oh! spare the bulbul's flower—his song be heard above,
And may the rose for ever bloom beneath the lips of love.
Edward Henry Bickersteth, "The Branch of the Almond Tree".