If I walk the noisy streets,
Or enter a many thronged church,
Or sit among the wild young generation,
I give way to my thoughts.
I say to myself: the years are fleeting,
And however many there seem to be,
We must all go under the eternal vault,
And someone’s hour is already at hand.
When I look at a solitary oak
I think: the patriarch of the woods.
It will outlive my forgotten age
As it outlived that of my grandfathers’.
If I caress a young child,
Immediately I think: farewell!
I will yield my place to you,
For I must fade while your flower blooms.