Greybeards at Play/Envoy

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Clear was the night: the moon was young:

The larkspurs in the plots

Mingled their orange with the gold

Of the forget-me-nots.

The poppies seemed a silver mist:

So darkly fell the gloom.

You scarce had guessed yon crimson streaks

Were buttercups in bloom.

But one thing moved: a little child

Crashed through the flower and fern:

And all my soul rose up to greet

The sage of whom I learn.

I looked into his awful eyes:

I waited his decree:

I made ingenious attempts

To sit upon his knee.

The babe upraised his wondering eyes,

And timidly he said,

"A trend towards experiment

In modern minds is bred.

"I feel the will to roam, to learn

By test, experience, _nous_,

That fire is hot and ocean deep,

And wolves carnivorous.

"My brain demands complexity."

The lisping cherub cried.

I looked at him, and only said,

"Go on. The world is wide."

A tear rolled down his pinafore,

"Yet from my life must pass

The simple love of sun and moon,

The old games in the grass;

"Now that my back is to my home

Could these again be found?"

I looked on him, and only said,

"Go on. The world is round."