Robert Laurence Binyon
Present And Future - Poem by Robert Laurence Binyon
Look, as a mother bending o'er her boy,
The sleeping boy that in her bosom lies,
Gazes upon him in a trance of joy
With earnest, infinitely tender eyes,
Lost in her deep love, and aware of nought,
Earth and the sunlight, men and trees and skies
Quite faded out from her impassioned thought;
Yet knows one day it will be otherwise,
When, laid alone within the narrow tomb,
Death leaves her none to love; but in youth's bloom,
Or grown to manhood and to strength, her son
Over the same earth that has closed on her
Rejoicing wanders on,
And strikes fresh tracks of thronged and fruitful life,
Nor frets at the sweet need for change and strife,
With eager mind and glowing heart astir
In ardour ever to pursue
Passions and actions, and adventures new:
So is the Present Age,
So strives she for that Age to come, her child.
Which knows not yet the pain, the sacrifice,
She for its sake endures; it knows not yet,
But must one day, the battles it must wage.
And she, if it within its sleep have smiled,
Is happy in her woes: no vain regret
Saps the sad strength with which she labours still
For that imagined bliss she shall not see,
So dear, so deeply hoped--for though it be.
And ever with unconquerable will,
Bearing her burden, toward one distant star
She moves in her desire; and though with pain
She labour, and the goal she dreams be far,
Proud is she in her passionate soul to know
That from her tears, her very sorrows grow
The joy, the hope, the peace of future men.
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