WHEN I look at Time departed and now,
And that promise which lighted my childhood,
Still fading and deserting me somehow,
I see the mark of that which has long stood.
My luck is gone, and my hope is all spent,
My greater talents be yet unfulfilled,
And the genius seems conquered at present,
Yet there be no opening to rebuild.
I still have time before my adult year,
And still this one Talent left to decide
As I behold this manhood that I fear,
Which comes to me wholly prepared and wide,
Or perhaps my verse should rekindle my stay,
To once more lead and see my brighter day.
Sing on, sweet thrush, upon the leafless bough
Sing on, sweet bird, I listen to thy strain,
See aged winter amid his surly reign
At thy blythe carol, clears his furrowed brow.
So in lone poverty, dominion drear,
Sits meek content with light, unanxious heart;
Welcomes the rapid moments, bids them part,
Nor asks if they bring output to hope or fear.
I hand thee, Author of this opening day!
Thou whose bright sun now gilds yon orient skies!
Riches denied, thy boon was purer joys
What wealth could never give nor take away.
Yet come, thou child of poverty and care,
the mite high bestowed that mite with thee share.
How soon hath time, the subtle thief of youth,
Stolen on his wing my three and twentieth year!
My hasting days fly on with full career,
But my late spring no bud or blossom sheweth.
Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth
That I to manhood am arrived so near,
An inward ripeness doth much less appear
That some more timely happy spirits indueth.
Yet be it less or more, or soon or slow,
It shall be still in strictest measure even
To that same lot however mean or high,
Toward which time lends me and the will of heaven.
All is, if I have grace to use it so,
As ever in my great taskmaster’s eye.
And here is the remake of something that I wrote two years ago, this very day. Hopefully I did justice to poetry!
This day I welcome my thirtieth year,
How then should I pencil my life in brief?
Perhaps with sadness or unending grief,
Or perhaps with hopelessness and great fear!
My heart commands me to shed a little tear
And watch that which slowly wilts like a leaf
And embrace the age which takes like a thief;
I shall with most that be denied compare.
Let me now gauge my thoughts, my speech and speed,
And switch my brains in advance for manhood,
And once more stare my youth before I leap-
My careless days, my toil, my sweat and blood.
My mind is ripe, my soul bold. I proceed
With my stay. I mingle with time before I sleep.
HOW do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all life! -and, if God choose
I shall but love thee better after death.