Page:Pieces People Ask For.djvu/208

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

Age is upon me; not age by years,
But age by sorrow and care and tears;
Not age that cheers as it draweth near
Yon heaven which seemeth more bright and clear,
But age which causes the heart to lag
In its onward course, and the spirit to flag;
That prays for death as but a release
From earthly care, and finds no peace
In that sweet belief that at last I hail,—
'There is rest for the weary beyond the vale.'
For to me has come a spirit of light,
Bringing the morning, and chasing the night;
Causing my heart with joy to swell
To my Maker, 'who doeth all things well.'
You shall hear my story: 'twill not be long,
And may guard you all from sin and from wrong.
I had wealth and plenty in goodly lands,
In houses and cattle; and from my hands
Many were fed; and many were they
Who partook of my charity day by day.
My house was open to stranger and friend;
And my gold did I lavishly, freely spend.
But one bitter curse did my wealth uprear
To poison my life,—the tempter here,
The sparkling demon, which now I see
From all your glasses glaring on me,—
A monster who steals on its prey so slow,
That it has your life before you know
Or dream of its power: this was the curse
That sat at my fireside, robbed my purse,
Poisoned my life, and left me to be
A drifting log on the world's wide sea,
Ruined and bankrupt, lost and bereft;
No kindred, no fortune, no treasure, left.
Treasure!—yes; for I had three sons,
The hope of my life,—three noble ones.
You shall hear their fate, and then I'll away,
Nor longer your hour of pleasure delay.

One sought as a merchant hopeful to clear
Our tarnished name, to again uprear
Our shattered house; but, sad to say,
The curse of the wine-cup was in his way.