Prelude.I dreamed one night that the calm hosts of heaven
Had lost their changeless paths; and as I stood
Beside the latticed window, I could watch
Those strange, fair pilgrims wandering from their shrines.
Up to the zenith rose the moon, and paused;
Stars went and came, and waxed and waned again,
Then vanished into nothing; meteors pale
Stole, soft as wind-blown blossoms, down the night;
Till I awoke to find the cold gray morn
Hymning its lonely dirges through the pines.
Were it not better that the planets fail,
And every heavenly orbit wander wide,
Than that this human life, its years like stars,
Should miss the accustomed sequence of content? 
All times are good; life's morning let us sing,
Its sunny noon, high noon, the whole world's pause,
Nor less that sweet decline which ends in eve.
Life were monotonous with its morning hours,
Came not the hurrying years to shift our mood,
Unfold an altered heaven and spread its glow
O'er the changed landscape of time's afternoon.