Birthday Thoughts

At twenty-five — at twenty-five,

The heart should not be cold;

It still is young in deeds to strive,

Though half life's tale be told;

And Fame should keep its youth alive,

If Love would make it old.

But mine is like that plant which grew

And wither'd in a night,

Which from the skies of midnight drew

Its ripening and its blight —

Matured in Heaven's tears of dew,

And faded ere her light.

Its hues, in sorrow's darkness born,

In tears were foster'd first;

Its powers, from passion's frenzy drawn,

In passion's gloom were nurs'd —

And perishing ere manhood's dawn,

Did prematurely burst.

Yet all I've learnt from hours rife

With painful brooding here

Is that, amid this mortal strife,

The lapse of every year

But takes away a hope from life,

And adds to death a fear.

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