Popular Science Monthly/Volume 2/March 1873/To A P Barnard

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TO FREDERICK A. P. BARNARD.[1]
The years are many since, in youth and hope,

Under the Charter Oak, our horoscope
We drew thick-studded with all-favoring stars.
Now, with gray beards, and faces seamed with scars
From life's hard battle, meeting once again,
We smile, half sadly, over dreams so vain;
Knowing, at last, that it is not in man
Who walketh to direct his steps, or plan
His permanent house of life. Alike we loved
The Muses' haunts, and all our fancies moved
To measures of old song. How, since that day,
Our feet have parted from the path that lay
So fair before us! Rich, from life-long search
Of truth, within thy academic porch
Thou sittest now, lord of a realm of fact,
Thy servitors the sciences exact;
Still listening, with thy hand on Nature's keys,
To hear the Samian's spheral harmonies
And rhythm of law. I, called from dream and song,
Thank God! so early to a strife so long
That, ere it closed, the black, abundant hair
Of boyhood rested silver-sown and spare
On manhood's temples, now at sunset chime
Tread with fond feet the path of morning-time.
And if perchance too late I linger where
The flowers have ceased to blow, and trees are bare,
Thou, wiser in thy choice, wilt scarcely blame
The friend who shields his folly with thy name.

 Amesbury, Mass., Tenth Month, 1870.

  1. Whittier's beautiful dedication of "Miriam" deserves a wider circulation than it has received.