Page:New poems and variant readings, Stevenson, 1918.djvu/142

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122
STEVENSON'S POEMS

VII.

The strong man's hand, the snow-cool head of age,
The certain-footed sympathies of youth—
These, and that lofty passion after truth,
Hunger unsatisfied in priest or sage
Or the great men of former years, he needs
That not unworthily would dare to sing
(Hard task!) black care's inevitable ring
Settling with years upon the heart that feeds
Incessantly on glory. Year by year
The narrowing toil grows closer round his feet;
With disenchanting touch rude-handed time
The unlovely web discloses, and strange fear
Leads him at last to eld's inclement seat,
The bitter north of life—a frozen clime.

 

VIII.

As Daniel, bird-alone, in that far land,
Kneeling in fervent prayer, with heart-sick eyes
Turned thro' the casement toward the westering skies;
Or as untamed Elijah, that red brand
Among the starry prophets; or that band
And company of Faithful sanctities
Who in all times, when persecutions rise,
Cherish forgotten creeds with fostering hand:

Such do ye seem to me, light-hearted crew,