When the veil from the eyes is lifted
The seer’s head is gray;
When the sailor to shore has drifted
The sirens are far away.
Why must the clearer vision,
The wisdom of Life’s late hour,
Come, as in Fate’s derision,
When the hand has lost its power?
Is there a rarer being,
Is there a fairer sphere
Where the strong are not unseeing,
And the harvests are not sere;
Where, ere the seasons dwindle,
They yield their due return;
Where the lamps of knowledge kindle
While the flames of youth still burn?
O, for the young man’s chances!
O, for the old man’s will!
Those flee while this advances,
And the strong years cheat us still.
Edmund Clarence Stedman, 1833–1906