Hope Deferred - Poem by George MacDonald
Summer is come again. The sun is bright,
And the soft wind is breathing. Airy joy
Is sparkling in thine eyes, and in their light
My soul is shining. Come; our day's employ
Shall be to revel in unlikely things,
In gayest hopes, fondest imaginings,
And make-believes of bliss. Come, we will talk
Of waning moons, low winds, and a dim sea;
Till this fair summer, deepening as we walk,
Has grown a paradise for you and me.
But ah, those leaves!-it was not summer's mouth
Breathed such a gold upon them. And look there-
That beech how red! See, through its boughs, half-bare,
How low the sun lies in the mid-day south!-
The sweetness is but one pined memory flown
Back from our summer, wandering alone!
See, see the dead leaves falling! Hear thy heart,
Which, with the year's pulse beating swift or slow,
Takes in the changing world its changing part,
Return a sigh, an echo sad and low,
To the faint, scarcely audible sound
With which the leaf goes whispering to the ground!
O love, sad winter lieth at the door-
Behind sad winter, age-we know no more.
Come round me, dear hearts. All of us will hold
Each of us compassed: we are growing old;
And if we be not as a ring enchanted,
Hearts around heart, with love to keep it gay,
The young, who claim the joy that haunted
Our visions once, will push us far away
Into the desolate regions, dim and gray,
Where the sea moans, and hath no other cry,
The clouds hang low, and have no tears,
Old dreams lie mouldering in a pit of years,
And hopes and songs all careless pass us by.
But if all each do keep,
The rising tide of youth will sweep
Around us with its laughter-joyous waves,
As ocean fair some palmy island laves,
To loneliness heaved slow from out the deep;
And our youth hover round us like the breath
Of one that sleeps, and sleepeth not to death.
Thus ringed eternally, to parted graves,
The sundered doors into one palace home,
Stumbling through age's thickets, we will go,
Faltering but faithful-willing to lie low,
Willing to part, not willing to deny
The lovely past, where all the futures lie.
Oh! if thou be, who of the live art lord,
Not of the dead-Lo, by that self-same word,
Thou art not lord of age, but lord of youth-
Because there is no age, in sooth,
Beyond its passing shows!
A mist o'er life's dimmed lantern grows;
Thou break'st the glass, out streams the light
That knows not youth nor age,
That fears no darkness nor the rage
Of windy tempests-burning still more bright
Than when glad youth was all about,
And summer winds were out!
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