And now there comes that phantom of the past,
Rousing my soul with its elastic prime:
I see thee still as when I saw thee last,—--
In that glad time,—
Radiant in beauty of the form and mind,
And young renown of academic strife,
Joy lay around, a stainless life behind,
Before thee, life;
A high-priest standing in the temple's space
Ere yet the sacrificial rites begin,
A giant waiting for the glorious race
He is to win.
We thought eternal tablets would record
Thy name with theirs who, since the world began,
With an immortal strength, and toil and word,
Have wrought for man.
We thought—alas! what thought we not of good,
Of all that hope or promise e'er begat;
Of all save early doom—O friend! how could
We think of that?
We could not see the shadows close thee round;
We could not know prophetic cypress shed
Funereal perfume for the wreath that bound
“So dear a head.”
We could not think the light that from afar
We deemed prelusive of the coming sun
Was but the parting radiance of his car,
When day is done.
But now I know too well a light's withdrawn
That made this gloomy earth for me more fair;
A perfume's fled and gentle influence gone
That soothed my care.
And yet not wholly gone: through life's sad vale
Thy soul—now prompting to resemble thee,
And now in sad monition when I fail—
Shall walk with me.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.