Mutation

They talk of short-lived pleasure–be it so–
   Pain dies as quickly: stern, hard-featured pain
Expires, and lets her weary prisoner go.
   The fiercest agonies have shortest reign;
   And after dreams of horror, comes again
The welcome morning with its rays of peace.
   Oblivion, softly wiping out the stain,
Makes the strong secret pangs of shame to cease:
Remorse is virtue’s root; its fair increase
   Are fruits of innocence and blessedness:
Thus joy, o’erborne and bound, doth still release
   His young limbs from the chains that round him press.
Weep not that the world changes–did it keep
A stable, changeless state, ’twere cause indeed to weep.

More Poems by William Cullen Bryant