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A human being would certainly not grow to be seventy or eighty years old if this longevity had no meaning for the species. The afternoon of human life must also have a significance of its own and cannot be merely a pitiful appendage to life’s morning.
The Silver Locks (1809)
by Felicia Hemans
“addressed to an aged friend”
Though youth may boast the curls that flow
In sunny waves of auburn glow;
As graceful on thy hoary head
Has Time the robe of honor spread,
And there, oh! softly, softly shed
His wreath of snow!
As frost-work on the trees display’d
When weeping Flora leaves the shade,
E’en more than Flora, charms the sight;
E’en so thy locks of purest white
Survive in age’s frost-work bright,
Youth’s vernal rose decay’d!
To grace the nymph whose tresses play
Light on the sportive breeze of May,
Let other bards the garland twine;
Where sweets of every hue combine,
Those locks revered, that silvery shine,
Invite my lay!
Less white the summer cloud sublime,
Less white the winter’s fringing rime;
Nor do Belinda’s lovelier seem
(A Poet’s blest immortal theme)
Than thine, which wear the moonlight beam
Of reverend Time!
Long may the graceful honors smile,
Like moss on some declining pile,
O much revered! may filial care
Around thee, duteous, long repair,
Thy joys with tender bliss to share,
Thy pains beguile!
Long, long, ye snowy ringlets, wave!
Long, long, your much-loved beauty save!
May bliss your latest evening crown,
Disarm life’s winter of its frown,
And soft, ye hoary hairs, go down
In gladness to the grave!
And as the parting beams of day
On mountain-snows reflected play,
And tints of roseate luster shed;
Thus, on the snow that crowns thy head,
May joy, with evening planet, shed
His mildest ray!
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