William Ernest Henley

(1849 - 1902 / Gloucester / England)

When You Are Old


When you are old, and I am passed away –
Passed, and your face, your golden face is gray –
I think, what’er the end, this dream of mine,
Comforting you, a friendly star will shine
Down the dim slope where you still stumble and stray.
So may it be: that so dead yesterday,
Not sad-eyed ghost but generous and gay,
May serve your memories like almighty wine,
When you are old!

Dear Heart, it shall be so. Under the sway
Of death the past’s enormous disarray
Lies hushed and dark. Yet though there come no sign,
Live on well pleased: immortal and divine
Love shall still tend you, as God’s angels may,
When you are old.

Submitted: Monday, April 12, 2010

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