Palinode

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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