The flower that smiles today
      Tomorrow dies;
All that we wish to stay
      Tempts and then flies.
What is this world's delight?
Lightning that mocks the night,
      Brief even as bright.

Virtue, how frail it is!
      Friendship, how rare!
Love, how it sells poor bliss
      For proud despair!
But we, though soon they fall,
Survive their joy, and all
      Which ours we call.

Whilst skies are blue and bright,
      Whilst flowers are gay,
Whilst eyes that change ere night
      Make glad the day;
Whilst yet the calm hours creep,
Dream thou-and from thy sleep
      Then wake to weep.

- Percy Bysshe Shelley

This poem was first published by Shelley's wife in 1824, two years after her husband's death, in the collection, Posthumous Poems. Another poem by Shelley, published with Alastor in 1816, bears the same title.

From low to high doth dissolution climb,
And sink from high to low, along a scale
Of awful notes, whose concord shall not fail;
A musical but melancholy chime,
Which they can hear who meddle not with crime,
Nor avarice, nor over-anxious care.
Truth fails not; but her outward forms that bear
The longest date do melt like frosty rime,
That in the morning whitened hill and plain
And is no more; drop like the tower sublime
Of yesterday, which royally did wear
His crown of weeds, but could not even sustain
Some casual shout that broke the silent air,
Or the unimaginable touch of Time.

- William Wordsworth

Mu`ta*bil"i*ty (?), n. [L. mutabilitas: cf. F. mutabilit'e.]

The quality of being mutable, or subject to change or alteration, either in form, state, or essential character; susceptibility of change; changeableness; inconstancy; variation.

Plato confessed that the heavens and the frame of the world are corporeal, and therefore subject to mutability. Stillingfleet.

 

© Webster 1913.

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