by Bayard Taylor
We are not old, we are not cold,
Our hearts are warm and tender yet;
Our arms are eager to enfold
More bounteous love than we have met.
Still many another heart lays bare
Its secret chamber to our eyes,
Though dim with passion's lurid air,
Or pure as morns of Paradise.
They give the love, whose glory lifts
Desire beyond the realm of sense;
They make us rich with lavish gifts,
The wealth of noble confidence.
We must be happy, must be proud,
So crowned with human trust and truth;
But ah! the love that first we vowed,
The dear religion of our youth!
Voluptuous bloom and fragrance rare
The summer to its rose may bring;
Far sweeter to the wooing air
The hidden violet of the spring.
Still, still that lovely ghost appears,
Too fair, too pure, to bid depart;
No riper love of later years
Can steal its beauty from the heart.
O splendid sun that shone above!
O green magnificence of Earth!
Born once into that land of love,
No life can know a second birth.
Dear, boyish heart, that trembled so
With bashful fear and fond unrest, --
More frightened than a dove, to know
Another bird within its nest!
Sharp thrills of doubt, wild hopes that came,
Fond words addressed, -- each word a pang:
Then -- hearts, baptized in heavenly flame,
How like the morning stars ye sang!
Love bound ye with his holiest link,
The faith in each that asks no more,
And led ye from the sacred brink
Of mysteries he held in store.
Love led ye, children, from the bowers
Where Strength and Beauty find his crown:
Ye were not ripe for mortal flowers;
God's angel brought an amaranth down.
Our eyes are dim with fruitless tears,
Our eyes are dim, our hearts are sore:
That lost religion of our years
Comes never, never, nevermore!
Source:The Poet's Journal
Ticknor and Fields, Boston