The Water Mill

Listen to the water mill,
Through the livelong day;
How the clicking of the wheel
Wears the hours away.
Languidly the autumn wind
Stirs the withered leaves;
On the field the reapers sing,
Binding up the sheaves;
And a proverb haunts my mind,
And as a spell is cast,
" The mill will never grind
With the water that has passed. "

Autumn winds revive no more
Leaves strewn o'er earth and main.
The sickle never more shall reap
The yellow, garnered grain;
And the rippling stream flows on
Tranquil, deep and still,
Never gliding back again
To the water mill.
Truly speaks the proverb old,
With a meaning vast:
" The mill will never grind
With the water that has passed. "

Take the lesson to thyself,
Loving heart and true;
Golden years are fleeting by,
Youth is passing, too.
Learn to make the most of life,
Lose no happy day!
Time will ne'er return again —
Sweet chances thrown away.
Leave no tender word unsaid,
But love while love shall last:
" The mill will never grind
With the water that has passed. "

Work, while yet the sun does shine,
Men of strength and will!
Never does the streamlet glide
Useless by the mill.
Wait not till tomorrow's sun
Beams brightly on thy way;
All that thou canst call thine own
Lies in this word: " Today! "
Power, intellect and health
Will not always last:
" The mill will never grind
With the water that has passed. "

O, the wasted hours of life
That have swiftly drifted by!
O, the good we might have done!
Gone, lost without a sigh!
Love that we might once have saved
By a single kindly word;
Thoughts conceived, but ne'er expressed,
Perishing unpenned, unheard!
Take the proverb to thy soul!
Take, and clasp it fast:
" The mill will never grind
With the water that has passed. "

O, love thy God and fellow man,
Thyself consider last;
For come it will when thou must scan
Dark errors of the past.
And when the fight of life is o'er
And earth recedes from view.
And heaven in all its glory shines.
'Midst the good, the pure, the true,
Then you will see more clearly
The proverb, deep and vast:
" The mill will never grind
With the water that has passed. "
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