To you, my comrades, whether far or near,
I send this message. Let our past revive;
Come, sound reveille to our hearts once more.
Expecting, I shall wait till at my door
I see you enter, each and every one
Tumultuous, eager all, with clamorous speech,
To hide my stammering welcome and my tears.
I am no host carousing long and late,
Enticing guests with epicurean hints;
Nor am I Timon, sick of this sad world,
Who, jesting, cries, "The sky is overhead,
And underneath that famous rest, the earth:
Show me the man who can have more at last."
Without, the thunder of the city rolls;
Within, the quiet of the student reigns.
There is a change. Time was a childish voice.
Sweet as the lark's when from her nest she soars,
Thrilled over all, and vanished into heaven.
Music once triumphed here: the skilful hand
Of him who rarely struck the keys, and woke
My soul in harmony grand as his own,
Is folded on his breast, my soldier love.
Here hangs his portrait, under it his sword;
He served his country, and his grave's afar.
Dread not this place as one to relics given,
Though I have decked with amaranth my wall,
The testimony of a later loss—
His who long wandering in foreign lands,
Then dying, crossed the sea to die with me.
Behold the sunrise and the morning clouds
On yonder canvas, misty mountain-peaks—
The simple grandeur of a perfect art!
Behold these vivid woods, that gleam beside
The happy vision of an autumn eve,
When red leaves fall, and redder sunsets fade!
The world grows pensive sinking into night,
Whose melancholy space hides sighing winds:
Can they reply to sadder human speech?
What centuries are counted here—my books!
Shadows of mighty men; the chorus, hark!
The antique chant vibrates, and Fate compels!
Comrades, return; the midnight lamp shall gleam
As in old nights; the chaplets woven then—
Withered, perhaps, by time—may grace us yet;
The laurel faded is the laurel still,
And some of us are heroes to ourselves.
And amber wine shall flow; the blue smoke wreathe
In droll disputes, with metaphysics mixed;
Or float as lightly as the quick-spun verse,
Threading the circle round from thought to thought,
Sparkling and fresh as is the airy web
Spread on the hedge at morn in silver dew.
The scent of roses you remember well;
In the green vases they shall bloom again.
And me—do you remember? I remain
Unchanged, I think; though one I saw like me
Some years ago, with hair that was not white;
And she was with you then, as brave a soul
As souls can be whom Fate has not approached.
But seek and find me now, unchanged or changed,
Mirthful in tears, and in my laughter sad.
Any corrections or public domain poems I should have here? Email me at poems (at) this domain.