Lyrics of Life (1909)/To Henry Mills Alden
TO HENRY MILLS ALDEN
Our days by deeds are numbered,—and by dreams,
If we dream well and nobly; for it seems
That he who would respond
By deed to what is loveliest and best,
Must, holding to the near and manifest,
Find in the things beyond,
Faith, ay, and courage, duty to fulfil,—
Hearing the higher voices calling still.
Thy youth those voices heard on many a height,
In the fresh dawn and the all-fragrant night,
For thou wast mountain-born;
And looking to the hills,—from boyhood-days
Thy comrades,—learned the wonder in their ways,
Reglorified each morn;
Gaining, with deeper draughts of upland breath,
Large images of Life and lordly Death.
And as a man but follows his lodestar,—
For our ideals make us what we are,—
Through self-effacing years,
Thou, toiling where the burdened city moans,
Hast lost no accent of the higher zones.
Smiles, and the truth of tears,
And memories, and melodies unsung,
Have visited thy heart, and kept it young.
Thou hast had strength, where many failed, to glean
Good from a doubtful harvest; thou hast seen
Light where the shade lay deep.
The future with the present praise must blend
To crown thy triumphs worthily, dear friend;
But we remembrance keep
More grateful, even, for thyself than them,
And lay upon thy brow love's anadem.