The Golden Wedding of Sterling and Sarah Lanier, September 27, 1868
A rainbow span of fifty years,
Painted upon a cloud of tears,
In blue for hopes and red for fears,
Finds end in a golden hour to-day.
Ah, you to our childhood the legend told,
“At the end of the rainbow lies the gold,”
And now in our thrilling hearts we hold
The gold that never will pass away.
Gold crushed from the quartz of a crystal life,
Gold hammered with blows of human strife,
Gold burnt in the love of man and wife,
Till it is pure as the very flame:
Gold that the miser will not have,
Gold that is good beyond the grave,
Gold that the patient and the brave
Amass, neglecting praise and blame.
O golden hour that caps the time
Since, heart to heart like rhyme to rhyme,
You stood and listened to the chime
Of inner bells by spirits rung,
That tinkled many a secret sweet
Concerning how two souls should meet,
And whispered of Time’s flying feet
With a most piquant silver tongue.
O golden day, —a golden crown
For the kingly heads that bowed not down
To win a smile or ’scape a frown,
Except the smile and frown of Heaven!
Dear heads, still dark with raven hair;
Dear hearts, still white in spite of care;
Dear eyes, still black and bright and fair
As any eyes to mortals given!
Old parents of a restless race,
You miss full many a bonny face
That would have smiled a filial grace
Around your Golden Wedding wine.
But God is good and God is great.
His will be done, if soon or late.
Your dead stand happy in yon Gate
And call you blessed while they shine.
So, drop the tear and dry the eyes.
Your rainbow glitters in the skies.
Here’s golden wine: young, old, arise:
With cups as full as our souls, we say:
“Two Hearts, that wrought with smiles through tears
This rainbow span of fifty years,
Behold how true, true love appears
True gold for your Golden Wedding day!”