Upon His Picture
by Thomas Randolph
When age hath made me what I am not now,
And every wrinkle tells me where the plow
Of time hath furrowed; when an ice will flow
Through every vein, and all my head wear snow;
When death displays his coldness in my cheek,
And I find myself in my own picture seek,
Not finding what I am, but what I was,
In doubt which to believe, this, or my glass:
Yet though I alter, this remains the same
As it was drawn, retains the primitive frame
And first complexion; here will still be seen
Blood on the cheek and down upon the chin;
Here the smooth brow will stay, the lively eye,
The ruddy lip, and hair of youthful dye.
Behold what frailty we in man may see,
Whose shadow is less given to change than he.
The Mockery of Life
by Wilfred Scawen Blunt
God! What a mockery is this life of ours!
Cast forth in blood and pain from our mother's womb,
Most like an excrement and weeping showers
Of senseless tears: unreasoning, naked, dumb,
The symbol of all weaknesses and the sum:
Our very life a sufferance - Presently,
Grown stronger, we must fight for standing room
Upon the earth, and the bare liberty
To breathe and move. We crave the right to toil.
We push, we strive, we jostle with the rest.
We learn new courage, stifle our old fears,
Stand with stiff backs, take part in every broil.
It may be that we are loved, that we are blest.
It may be, for a little space of years,
We conquer fate and half forget our fears.
And then fate strikes us. First our joys decay.
Youth, with its pleasures, is a tale soon told.
We grow a little poorer day by day.
Old friendships falter. Love grows strangely cold.
by John Clare
I am! yet what I am none cares or knows,
My friends forsake me like a memory lost;
I am the self-consumer of my woes,
They rise and vanish in oblivious host,
Like shades in love and death's oblivion lost;
And yet I am! And live with shadows lost.
Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
Into the living sea of waking dreams,
Where there is neither sense of life nor joys,
But the vast shipwreck of my life's esteems;
And e'en the dearest - that I loved the best -
Are strange - nay, rather stranger than the rest.
I long for scenes where man has never trod;
A place where woman never smil'd or wept;
There to abide with my creator, GOD,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept;
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie;
The grass below - above the vaulted sky.
Look! We Have Come Through!
by D. H. Lawrence
The little river twittering in the twilight
The wan, wandering look of the pale sky,
This is almost bliss.
And everything shut up and gone to sleep,
All the troubles and anxieties and pain,
Gone under the twilight.
Only the twilight now, and the soft 'Sh!'of the river
That will last forever.
And at last I know my love for you is here;
I can see it all, it is whole like the twilight,
It is large, so large, I could not see it before,
Because of the little lights and flickers and interruptions,
Troubles, anxieties and pains.
You are the call and I am the answer,
You are the wish and I am the fulfillment,
You are the night and I the day.
What else? It is perfect enough,
It is perfectly complete,
You and I,
Strange how we suffer in spite of this.
If We Never Meet Again
(Albert E. Brumley)
Soon we'll come to the end of life's journey
And perhaps never meet anymore
Till we gather in heaven's bright city
Far away on that beautiful shore
If we never meet again this side of heaven
As we struggle through this world and its strife
There's another meeting place somewhere in heaven
By the side of the river of life
Where the charming roses bloom forever
And where separations come no more
If we never meet again this side of heaven
I will meet you on that beautiful shore.
The Old House
Lonely I wander through scenes of my childhood,
They call back to memory those happy days of yore
Gone are the old folk, the house that stands deserted,
No light in the windows, no welcome at the door.
Here's where the children played games on the heather,
Here's where they sailed their wee boats on the burn,
Where are they now ? Some are dead, some have wandered,
No more to their home shall those children return.
Lone is the house now and lonely the moorland,
The children are scattered, the old folk are gone,
Why stand I here like a ghost and a shadow ?
' Tis time I were moving, Tis time I passed on.
If you think you are beaten, you are;
If you think you dare not, you don't;
If you'd like to win, but think you can't
Its almost a cinch you wont.
If you think you'll lose, your lost;
For out in the world we find
Success begins with a fellow's will-
It's all in the state of mind,
If you think you are outclassed, you are
You've got to think high to rise.
You've just got to be sure of yourself
Before you can win the prize.
Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But sooner or later the man who wins
Is the one who thinks he can.
To live a life so basic in it's essence,
So faithful to the immortal beliefs of kindness given and received,
in a world so beset with human violence,
Free from the evil influences practiced upon this grain of universal
With hopes of eternal peace derived from a life on earth befitting
the destiny bestowed upon this mortal man,
It is with no regret that at the time of departure I raise my
hand in a salute of farewell to the people I have loved so faithfully
and hopefully have served so well.
Now, God be thanked Who has matched us with His hour,
And caught our youth, and wakened us from sleeping,
With hand made sure, clear eye, and sharpened power,
To turn, as swimmers into cleanness leaping,
Glad from a world grown old and cold and weary,
Leave the sick hearts that honour could not move,
And half-men, and their dirty songs and dreary,
And all the little emptiness of love!
Oh! we, who have known shame, we have found release there,
Where there's no ill, no grief, but sleep has mending,
Naught broken save this body, lost but breath;
Nothing to shake the laughing heart's long peace there
But only agony, and that has ending;
And the worst friend and enemy is but Death.
Dear! of all happy in the hour, most blest
He who has found our hid security,
Assured in the dark tides of the world that rest,
And heard our word, `Who is so safe as we?'
We have found safety with all things undying,
The winds, and morning, tears of men and mirth,
The deep night, and birds singing, and clouds flying,
And sleep, and freedom, and the autumnal earth.
We have built a house that is not for Time's throwing.
We have gained a peace unshaken by pain for ever.
War knows no power. Safe shall be my going,
Secretly armed against all death's endeavour;
Safe though all safety's lost; safe where men fall;
And if these poor limbs die, safest of all.
III. The Dead
Blow out, you bugles, over the rich Dead!
There's none of these so lonely and poor of old,
But, dying, has made us rarer gifts than gold.
These laid the world away; poured out the red
Sweet wine of youth; gave up the years to be
Of work and joy, and that unhoped serene,
That men call age; and those who would have been,
Their sons, they gave, their immortality.
Blow, bugles, blow! They brought us, for our dearth,
Holiness, lacked so long, and Love, and Pain.
Honour has come back, as a king, to earth,
And paid his subjects with a royal wage;
And Nobleness walks in our ways again;
And we have come into our heritage.
IV. The Dead
These hearts were woven of human joys and cares,
Washed marvellously with sorrow, swift to mirth.
The years had given them kindness. Dawn was theirs,
And sunset, and the colours of the earth.
These had seen movement, and heard music; known
Slumber and waking; loved; gone proudly friended;
Felt the quick stir of wonder; sat alone;
Touched flowers and furs and cheeks. All this is ended.
There are waters blown by changing winds to laughter
And lit by the rich skies, all day. And after,
Frost, with a gesture, stays the waves that dance
And wandering loveliness. He leaves a white
Unbroken glory, a gathered radiance,
A width, a shining peace, under the night.
V. The Soldier
If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.
And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.
(W. H. Davies)
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
The River of Life
The more we live, more brief appear
Our life's succeeding stages:
A day to childhood seems a year,
And years like passing ages.
The gladsome current of our youth,
Ere passion yet disorders,
Steals lingering like a river smooth
Along its grassy borders.
But as the care-worn cheeks grow wan,
And sorrow's shaft fly thicker,
Ye stars, that measure life to man,
Why seem your courses quicker?
When joys have lost their bloom and breath
And life itself is vapid,
Why, as we reach the Falls of Death,
Feel we its tide more rapid?
It may be strange - yet who would change
Time's course to slower speeding,
When one by one our friends have gone
And left our bosoms bleeding?
Heaven gives our years of fading strength
And those of youth, a seeming length,
Proportion'd to their sweetness.