Time's Defeat

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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Time has made conquest of so many things
That once were mine. Swift-footed, eager youth
That ran to meet the years; bold brigand health,
That broke all laws of reason unafraid,
And laughed at talk of punishment. Close ties

Of blood and friendship, and that joy of life,
Which reads its music in the major key
And will not listen to a minor strain--
These things and many more are spoils of time.

Yet as a conqueror who only storms
The outposts of a town, and finds the fort
Too strong to be assailed, so time retreats
And knows his impotence. He cannot take
My three great jewels from the crown of life;
Love, sympathy, and faith; and year on year
He sees them grow in lustre and in worth,
And glowers by me, plucking at his beard,
And dragging as he goes, a useless scythe.
Once in the dark he plotted with his friend
Grim death, to steal my treasures. Death replied:
"They are immortal, and beyond thy reach:
I could but set them in another sphere,
To shine with greater lustre."

Time and Death
Passed on together, knowing their defeat;
And I am singing by the road of life.

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