( Originally Published 1868 )
You say the years have sadder grown
Beneath their weight of care and duty,
That all the festive grace has flown,
That wreathed and crowned their earlier beauty.
You tell me Hope no more can daze
Your vision with her bland delusions,
Nor Fancy, versed in subtle ways,
Seduce you to her gay conclusions.
The rapturous throb, the bound, the flush,
That made all life one strong sensation,
Grow quiet now, beneath the hush
Of time's profounder revelation.
You have it still—the inviolate past,
So pure, so free from gloss and glitter :
The wine runs limpid to the last
No dregs to clash its beads with bitter.
Vixi:—thus ooking back you write
The best that life can give, you've tasted ;
And drop by drop, translucent, bright,
You've sipped and drained—not one is wasted.
'Tis not in retrospect your eye
Aone sees pathways pranked with flowers ;
You knew the while the hours flew by,
They were supremely blissful hours.
The sun sopes sowly westering still,
Behind you now your shadow lengthens;
And in the vale beneath the hill
The evening's growing purple strengthens.
The morning mists that swam your eye
Made large and luminous life's ideal :
Now, cut against your clearer sky,
You comprehend the true—the real.
Time still has joys that do not pall,
Love still has hours serene and tender :
Tis afternoon, dear, that is all !
And this is afternoon's calm splendour.
God grant your coudless orb may run
Long, golden cycles ere we sever ;
Or, like the Northern midnight sun,
Circle with light my heart for ever !