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Retrospect

 

As one who journeying over unknown lands

Ere yet the sun withdraws its western ray.

Stops on some mountain top whose height commands

A distant view of hill and woodland way ;

And now his glances linger, now retrace

The downward path to that sequestered place

Where flowers were fair, and wild birds woke to song

His morning's prime; so I who loitered long

Amid such nappy valleys, would descend

In vision whence I clomb when life was young.

Ere memory fail and my last footsteps end.

 

E'en as I look, a longing thought expands

The ambit of the past for my survey,

And childhood reappears with laughing bands

Of lost companions in forgotten play.

But soon ascending mists of time erase

Those early summers, and mine eyes embrace

Another scene.   Therein with Love's light thong

Two lives arc knit in one ; the bells are rung

And Love is crowned.   How could I make amend.

Were grief to fill the breast where gladness clung.

Ere memory fail and my last footsteps end ?

 

Nearer my gaze I What valiant spirit Stands

In bright perspective, comrade of the day

On yonder hill ? The hands that held my hands

Have fallen apart, the feet have gone astray

In death's dark valley ; but the eager face,

Love cannot lose, nor death itself abase.

Leans to me Still from out that ghostly throng

Whose eyes once burnt so bright and hearts beat strong.

Had I but known the grief that did impend

Upon my path ! Let it attend my tongue

Ere memory fail and my last footsteps end.

 

Between us lies a belt of barren sands

Across whose dearth my journey hither lay ;

Whereon the hours are milestones, and each brands

The road to misery, and would betray

Despondent feet to find in death disgrace.

There faith forsook me, and I found no trace

Of guide or goal those desolate dunes among.

Anguish assailed my soul, as downward swung,

The carrion bird Despair to seize and rend.

" Dear Lord, have mercy," from my heart was wrung,

" Ere memory fail and my last footsteps end."

 

God is all-merciful. Who understands

The labyrinths of our life, and when we pray

Sends forth His angels to unravel the Strands

Intended as our guide but tangled. They

Perform His pleasure ; bridge the broken space ;

Or point a path.   So was it in my case;

For as I lay forsaken, wounded. Stung

By memory and regret, His angel sprung

To succour me.   She that I loved would spend

On me, she said, " Love's treasure hoarded long,"

Ere memory fail and my last footsteps end.

 

                             Envoy

Angel of God ! Long since thine arm was flung

About my neck, the while thy true lips hung

O'er mine to bless.   Now would I wholly blend

My life with that to which its days belong,

Ere memory fail and my last footsteps end.

 




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