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To The Sun-Dial
a poem by John Quincy Adams


To The Sun-Dial
(Under the Window of the Hall of the House
of Representatives of the United States)


To The Sun-Dial
Thou silent herald of Time's silent flight! 
Say, could'st thou speak, what warning voice were thine? 
Shade, who canst only show how others shine! 
Dark, sullen witness of resplendent light 
In day's broad glare, and when the noontide bright 
Of laughing fortune sheds the ray divine, 
Thy ready favors cheer us--but decline 
The clouds of morning and the gloom of night. 
Yet are thy counsels faithful, just, and wise; 
They bid us seize the moments as they pass-- 
Snatch the retrieveless sunbeam as it flies, 
Nor lose one sand of life's revolving glass-- 
Aspiring still, with energy sublime, 
By virtuous deeds to give eternity to Time. 


To The Sun-Dial - a poem by John Quincy Adams

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