I saw Time in his workshop carving faces;
Scattered around his tools lay, blunting griefs,
Sharp cares that cut out deeply in reliefs
Of light and shade; sorrows that smooth the traces
Of what were smiles. Nor yet without fresh graces
His handiwork, for ofttimes rough were ground
And polished, oft the pinched made smooth and round;
The calm look, too, the impetuous fire replaces.
Long time I stood and watched; with hideous grin
He took each heedless face between his knees,
And graved and scarred and bleached with boiling tears.
I wondering turned to go, when, lo! my skin
Feels crumpled, and in glass my own face sees
Itself all changed, scarred, careworn, white with years.