George Essex Evans

A Grey Road

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A sun-flash on his mounting wing,
A wild note soaring high—
The lark is up, the minstrel king,
The poet of the sky.
To thrill, to sing of Youth and Spring
Those golden numbers flowed.
What message then
Has he for men
Who tread the long grey road?
Knee-deep in grass the cattle stand,
The river winds along,
And chants through sunny meadow land
A low mysterious song.
Ah! sunlit vale and lover’s tale
Youth’s day is quickly gone—
Past current-beat
And meadow-sweet
The grey road stretches on!

Grim bastions frowning down below—
And rising, tier on tier,
Sublime, and crowned with ageless snow
The awful peaks appear.
The heights belong unto the strong
Who scale, by crags untried,
The great cliffs face—
But at its base
The grey road turns aside!

No hope in Heaven, no minstrel strain,
No vales where summer shone
A leaden sky, a silent plain,
The grey road stretching on.
O Christ, who trod the thorny path,
And bore the bitter load,
Have mercy then
On weary men
Who tread the long grey road!

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