One morning in the month of May,
I wandered o’er the hill;
Though nature all around was gay,
My heart was heavy still.
Can God, I thought, the just, the great,
These meaner creatures bless,
And yet deny to man’s estate
The boon of happiness?
Tell me, ye woods, ye smiling plains,
Ye blessed birds around,
In which of nature’s wide domains
Can bliss for man be found.
The birds wild carolled over head,
The breeze around me blew,
And nature’s awful chorus said—
No bliss for man she knew.
I questioned love, whose early ray,
So rosy bright appears,
And heard the timid genius say
His light was dimmed by tears.
I questioned friendship: Friendship sighed,
And thus her answer gave—
The few whom fortune never tried
Were withered in the grave!
I asked if vice could bliss bestow?
Yice boasted loud and well,
But fading from her withered brow,
The borrowed roses fell.
I sought of feeling, if her skill
Could sooth the wounded breast;
And found her mourning, faint and stil
For others’ woes distressed!
I questioned virtue: virtue sighed,
No boon could she dispense—
Nor virtue was her name, she cried
But humble penitence.
I questioned death—the grisly shade
Relaxed his brow severe—
And “I am happiness,” he said
“If Virtue guides thee here”