Richard Henry Stoddard

(1825-1903 / USA)

An Old Song Reversed


“THERE are gains for all our losses.”
So I said when I was young.
If I sang that song again,
’T would not be with that refrain,
Which but suits an idle tongue.

Youth has gone, and hope gone with it,
Gone the strong desire for frame.
Laurels are not for the old.
Take them, lads. Give Senex gold.
What ’s an everlasting name?

When my life was in its summer
One fair woman liked my looks:
Now that Time has driven his plough
In deep furrows on my brow,
I ’m no more in her good books.

“There are gains for all our losses?”
Grave beside the wintry sea,
Where my child is, and my heart,
For they would not live apart,
What has been your gain to me?

No, the words I sang were idle,
And will ever so remain:
Death, and Age, and vanished Youth
All declare this bitter truth,
There ’s a loss for every gain!

Submitted: Friday, October 15, 2010

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