James Whitcomb Riley

(7 October 1849 - 22 July 1916 / Greenfield, Indiana)

When Age Comes On


When Age comes on!--
'The deepening dusk is where the dawn
Once glittered splendid, and the dew
In honey-drips, from red rose-lips
Was kissed away by me and you.--
And now across the frosty lawn
Black foot-prints trail, and Age comes on--
And Age comes on!
And biting wild-winds whistle through
Our tattered hopes--and Age comes on!

When Age comes on!--
O tide of raptures, long withdrawn,
Flow back in summer-floods, and fling
Here at our feet our childhood sweet,
And all the songs we used to sing! . . .
Old loves, old friends--all dead and gone--
Our old faith lost--and Age comes on--
And Age comes on!
Poor hearts! have we not anything
But longings left when Age comes on?

ENVOY.

Just as of old! The world rolls on and on;
The day dies into night--night into dawn--
Dawn into dusk--through centuries untold.--
Just as of old.

Time loiters not. The river ever flows,
Its brink or white with blossoms or with snows;
Its tide or warm with Spring or Winter cold:
Just as of old.

Lo! where is the beginning, where the end
Of living, loving, longing? Listen, friend!--
God answers with a silence of pure gold--
Just as of old.

Submitted: Friday, April 09, 2010

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