The Clouds are black in heaven, the roar of winds

The clouds are black in heaven, the roar of winds
Is heard among the tall, aspiring tops
Of hoary oaks, that wave on Gargarus,
And proudly heave their giant arms.
These oaks have stood unhurt, unmoved,
The storms of ages as they rolled:
No tempest broke their boughs,
No lightning scathed their trunks.
They stand in mockery against the winds,
And laugh the fury of the storm to scorn;
But man, poor feeble man, can lay
Their honors in the dust;
By constant toil he rules.
But man, to rule, must rule himself,
Or all his toil is vain.
In life's first dawn he needs
The watchful care of friends.
The flower that early blooms,
Must from the chilly winds
Be shielded, or it droops and dies;
The tender plant of childhood needs that care,—
It takes each form you give; the parent's hand
Can, if the task with life begin,
Train it as easily
To virtue as to vice;
But if you let it shoot luxuriant, wild,
Or train it up to vice in life's weak dawn,
It wastes its early strength for naught,
And when the time of fruit arrives, you come
And find its branches withered, scorched, and bare.
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