William Ernest Henley

(1849 - 1902 / Gloucester / England)

Ballade Of Youth And Age


Spring at her height on a morn at prime,
Sails that laugh from a flying squall,
Pomp of harmony, rapture of rhyme -
Youth is the sign of them, one and all.
Winter sunsets and leaves that fall,
An empty flagon, a folded page,
A tumble-down wheel, a tattered ball -
These are a type of the world of Age.

Bells that clash in a gaudy chime,
Swords that clatter in onsets tall,
The words that ring and the fames that climb -
Youth is the sign of them, one and all.
Hymnals old in a dusty stall,
A bald, blind bird in a crazy cage,
The scene of a faded festival -
These are a type of the world of Age.

Hours that strut as the heirs of time,
Deeds whose rumour's a clarion-call,
Songs where the singers their souls sublime -
Youth is the sign of them, one and all.
A staff that rests in a nook of wall,
A reeling battle, a rusted gage,
The chant of a nearing funeral -
These are a type of the world of Age.

Envoy

Struggle and turmoil, revel and brawl -
Youth is the sign of them, one and all.
A smouldering hearth and a silent stage -
These are a type of the world of Age.

Submitted: Monday, April 12, 2010

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