Threescore and Ten

As time passes, I find myself increasingly drawn to old authors and old books. I scour the used bookshops to look for lost treasures. At the back of one such nineteenth-century work I found this old poem by Edward Morris. I don’t know who Edward Morris was or when he lived, but I’m grateful for the sweet poem he left us, a poem which celebrates the days so many lament—the days when life has grown long and death draws near.

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To me the years have gentler grown,
And time more gracious now than then,
Though here I sit and muse alone,
Threescore and ten.

The best of living is the last,
And life seems sweetest at its close;
And something richer than the past,
These days disclose.

I mourn not now the silvered hair,
The trembling hand, the failing power,
As here I wait and calmly dare,
The coming hour.

What dreams of honor or of gain,
Of wreaths or crowns to grace my brow,
Once stirred my spirit, none remain,
To stir me now.

The tossing life, the hope and fear,
The strife, the pain of earlier days,
On these, all past, I look with clear,
Unshrinking gaze.

And even when I sorrow most,
Yet happy are the tears I shed,
And bright the memories of the lost,
The pious dead.

The increase of the corn and wine,
And growing gladness in the heart,
And wondrous grace and joy are mine,
From men apart.

Alone, but not alone, I stand;
Around, above, a Power divine
Is shining, and a heavenly hand,
Is touching mine.

Strange glories gild my closing day,
And one bright star from out the west
Calls me in tender tones away,
From work to rest.

And voices which amid the din
Of outward life I could not hear
Are gently whispering within,
Their words of cheer.

So, welcome is each flying year,
And welcome is this silent bliss;
Nothing the noisy world can yield,
Compares with this.

And so, reclining on the slope
Of life, apart from busy men,
I firmly grasp this larger hope,
Threescore and ten!