Language: English
Published: 1 month ago
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How young I am!  Ah! heaven, this curse of youth
   Doth mock me from my mirror with great eyes,
And pulsing veins repeat the unwelcome truth,
   That I must live, though hope within me dies.

So young, and yet I have had all of life.
   Why, men have lived to see a hundred years,
Who have not known the rapture, joy, and strife
   Of my brief youth, its passion and its tears.

Oh! what are years?  A ripe three score and ten
   Hold often less of life, in its best sense,
Than just a twelvemonth lived by other men,
   Whose high-strung souls are ardent and intense.

But having seen all depths and scaled all heights,
   Having a heart love thrilled, and sorrow wrung,
Knowing all pains, all pleasures, all delights,
   Now I would die—but cannot, being young.

Nothing is left me, but supreme despair;
   The bitter dregs that tell of wasted wine.
Come furrowed brow, dull eye, and frosted hair,
   Companions fit for this old heart of mine.

Through the sunshine, and through the rain
   Of these changing days of mist and splendour,
I see the face of a year-old pain
   Looking at me with a smile half tender.

With a smile half tender, and yet all sad,
   Into each hour of the mild September
It comes, and finding my life grown glad
   Looks down in my eyes, and says ‘Remember.’

Says ‘Remember,’ and points behind
   To days of sorrow, and tear-wet lashes;
When joy lay dead and hope was blind,
   And nothing was left but dust and ashes.

Dust and ashes and vain regret,
   Flames fanned out, and the embers falling.
But the sun of the saddest day must set,
   And hope wakes ever with Springtime’s calling.

With Springtime’s calling the pulses thrill;
   And the heart is tuned to a sweeter measure.
For never a green Spring crossed the hill
   That came not laden with some new pleasure.

Some new pleasure that brings content;
   And the heart looks up with a smile of gladness,
And wonders idly when sorrow went
   Out of the life that seemed all sadness.

That seemed all sadness, and yet grew bright
   With colours we thought could tinge it never.
Yet I think the pain though out of sight,
   Like the warp of the carpet, is there for ever.

There for ever, and by and by
   When the woof wears thin, or draws asunder,
We see the sombre threads that lie
   Intertwining and twisting under.

Twisting under and binding so
   The brighter threads that they may not sever.
Thus the pain of a year ago
   Must stay a part of my life for ever.


The dawn grows red in the eastern sky,
   (Long, so long is the day,)
And I lean from my lattice and sigh and sigh,
As I watch the night fog creeping by
   And vanish over the bay.

The thrush soars up, over green clad hills,
   (The day is long, so long;)
Like liquid silver his music spills,
And ever it quivers, and runs, and trills
   In a glad sweet burst of song.

Under my window there blooms a rose,
   (How long a day can be.)
And I lean and whisper what no soul knows
Of my heart’s sorrows and secret woes,
   And the red rose sighs, ‘Ah me!’

A ship sails into the waiting bay,
   (The day is long, alack,)
But what would that matter to me, I pray
If the ship that sailed out yesterday
   Should never more come back....