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THE SONG OF SEVENTY.
I am not old,- I cannot be old,
Though threescore years and ten
The lives of other men :
I am not old ; though friends and foes
As a rock in the midst of the waves :
I am not old, I cannot be old,
Though tottering, wrinkled, and gray ; Though my eyes are dim, and my marrow is cold,
Call me not old to-day.
For, early memories round me throng,
Old times, and manners, and men,
Of threescore miles and ten ;
I look behind, and am once more young,
Buoyant, and brave, and bold,
Before they called me old.
I do not see her—the old wife there
Shrivelled, and haggard, and gray, But I look on her blooming, and soft, and fair,
As she was on her wedding-day :
I do not see you, daughters and sons,
In the likeness of women and men,
My fond little children then :
And, as my own grandson rides on my knee,
Or plays with his hoop or kite,
The bright-eyed little wight!
'Tis not long since,-it cannot be long,
My years so soon were spent, Since I was a boy, both straight and strong,
Yet now am I feeble and bent.
A dream, a dream,-it is all a dream!
A strange, sad dream, good sooth; For old as I am, and old as I seem,
My heart is full of youth :
Eye hath not seen, tongue hath not told,
And ear hath not heard it sung, How buoyant and bold, though it seem to grow old,
Is the heart, for ever young ;
For ever young,—though life's old age
Hath every nerve unstrung ; The heart, the heart is a heritage
That keeps the old man young !
Away with false fashion, so calm and so chill,
Where pleasure itself cannot please ;
Affects to be quite at its ease ;
The freest is first in the band,
Is a man with his heart in his hand !
Fearless in honesty, gentle yet just,
He warmly can love,--and can hate, Nor will he bow down with his face in the dust
To Fashion's intolerant state : For best in good breeding, and highest in rank,
Though lowly or poor in the land, Is nature's own Nobleman, friendly and frank,
The man with his heart in his hand !
His fashion is passion, sincere and intense,
His impulses, simple and true,
And cordial with me, and with you:
It is you, man! or you, man! who stand
A man with his heart in his hand !
NEVER GIVE UP!
NEVER give up! it is wiser and better
Always to hope, than once to despair ;
And break the dark spell of tyrannical care :
Providence kindly has mingled the cup, And in all trials or troubles, bethink you,
The watchword of life must be, Never give up!