I remember reading this poem for the first time when I was in primary school. It was a part of the 2nd language English syllabus and was the favorite poem of the entire class. Not because it is so lovely, but solely for the reason that it was short and very easy to mug up for the exams.
Through the years, the more I read the poem, the more beautiful it sounds and means. Here it is.. by Ben Johnson (1572-1637)
It is not growing like a tree
In bulk, doth make man better be;
Or standing long an oak, three-hundred year,
To fall a log at last, dry, bald and sere.
A lily of a day,
Is fairer far in May,
Although it droop and die that night,
It was the plant and flow'r of light.
In small proportions we just beauties see;
And in short measures, life may perfect be.