Caroline Clive

Old Age

Thou hast been wrong'd, I think old age;
Thy soverign reign comes not in wrath,
Thou call'st us home from pilgrimage,
Spreadest the seat and clear'st the hearth.

The hopes and fears that shook our youth,
By thee are turn'd to a certainty;
I see my boy become a man,
I hold my girl's girl on my knee.

Whate'er of good as been, dost thou
In the departed past make sure;
Whate'er has changed from weal to woe,
Thy comrade Death stands nigh to cure.

And once or twice in age there shines
Brief gladness, as when winter weaves
In frosty days o'er naked trees,
A sudden splendour of white leaves.

The past revives, and thoughts return,
Which kindled once the youthful breast;
They light us, though no more they burn,
They turn to grey and are at rest.

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Caroline Clive