Hoary is one of those words that has largely fallen into disuse, and perhaps that’s to our detriment since it’s so evocative. It simply means “grayish white” and was often used to describe the hair of older men and women. Hannah Flagg Gould used the word in this lovely poem which celebrates “the gift of lengthened years.” I hope you enjoy it.
Aged man, with locks so hoary,
High estate dost thou possess!
They appear thy crown of glory,
In the way of righteousness.
Jewels, not of man’s preparing,
Form the shining diadem,
Thou art from thy Sovereign wearing:
God’s own finger silvered them.
Thine are honors, proved and heightened
By the gift of lengthened years;
In affliction’s furnace brightened,
Tried by cares, and washed with tears.
Like thy Master, meek and lowly,
Thou a thorny earth hast trod;
With thy breast a high and holy
Temple of the living God.
Aged saint, thy form is bending,
Sere and withered, to the tomb;
But thy spirit, upward tending,
Budded for immortal bloom.