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Ballads and Lyrics of Socialism 1883-1908 . Nesbit, E. (Edith), 1858–1924.
page: 49

Old Age

  • BETWEEN the midnight and the morn
  • When wake the weary heart and head,
  • Troops of gray ghosts from lands forlorn
  • Keep tryst about my sleepless bed.
page: 50
  • I hear their cold, thin voices say:
  • ‘Your youth is dying; by‐and‐by
  • All that makes up your life to‐day
  • Withered by age, will shrink and die!’
  • Will it be so? Will age slay all
  • The dreams of love and hope and faith—
  • Put out the sun beyond recall,
  • And lap us in a living death?
  • Will hearts grown old forget their youth?
  • And hands grown old give up the strife?
  • Shall we accept as ordered truth
  • The dismal anarchy of life?
  • Better die now—at once be free
  • Of hope and fear—renounce the whole:
  • For of what worth would living be
  • Should one—grown old—outlive one’s soul?
  • Yet see: through curtains closely drawn
  • Creeps in the exorcising light;
  • The sacred fingers of the dawn
  • Put all my troop of ghosts to flight.
  • And then I hear the brave Sun’s voice,
  • Though still the skies are gray and dim;
  • ‘Old age comes never—Oh, rejoice—
  • Except to those who beckon him.
  • ‘All that youth’s dreams are nourished by,
  • By that shall dreams in age be fed—
  • Thy noble dreams can never die
  • Until thyself shall wish them dead!’