Child, like a butterfly harmlessly
Fluttering past the pain-racked invalid,
When having seen me begin the homeward journey,
In the wake of suffering
Do not think of me in your flush of youth:
A fleeting thought is all that you would give;
Nor when happily in love, in marriage or in motherhood:
Your memory would be only a pale reflection in the bustle of your life.
Only at sixty years of age, please think of me:
The poor sick man you saw
Year after year stretched on a bed of suffering,
Who, tortured by unceasing pain,
Spoke little, save laborious groans;
Nothing was he to you and nothing could he be.
At sixty years of age, child, think of him:
Then you will muse on him, muse long,
And late, deep compassion will rise in you
For him then long at rest from suffering.
A teardropp fills your eye as offering
For him long paled in death,
Who nothing was to you, and nothing could be.