Twenty years are gone

Down the winding road,

Years in which it shone

More often than it snowed;

And now old Time brings on,

Brings on the Palinode.

I have been full of mirth;

I have been full of wine;

And I have trod the earth

As if it all were mine;

And laughed to bring to birth

The lighter lyric line.

Before it was too late,

One thing I learnt and saw:

Prophets anticipate

What Time brings round by law;

Call age before its date

To darken Youth with awe.

Why should you drink the rue?

Or leave in righteous rage,

A world that will leave you

Howe'er you walk the stage?

Time needs no help to do

His miracle of age.

A few years more to flow

From miracle-working Time,

And surely I shall grow

Incapable of rhyme,

Sans Love and Song, and so

An echo of a mime.

Yet if my stone set forth

The merry Attic blade's

Remark, I shall have worth

Achieved before Life fades:

" A gentle man on Earth

And gentle 'mid the Shades. "

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