See how the little toiling ant
Improves the harvest hours:
While summer lasts, through all her cells
The choicest stores she pours.
Sagacious she, without a guide,
By instinct only led,
Fearful of want, in harvest hours,
Provides her winter bread.
Ne’er be it said, that toiling ants
Lay up their stock of grain,
And man neglects his great concern,
Eternal life to gain.
While life remains, our harvest lasts;
But youth of life’s the prime;
Best is this season for our work,
And this the accepted time.
“To-day attend,” is wisdom’s voice,
“Tomorrow,” folly cries:
And still to-morrow ’tis, when, Oh!
Today the sinner dies.
When conscience speaks, its voice regard,
And seize the tender hour;
Humbly implore the promised grace,
And God will give the power.
–John Needham, d. 1786.