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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

An Old Song Reversed

By Richard Henry Stoddard (1825–1903)

[From Poems. Complete Edition. 1880.]

“THERE are gains for all our losses,”

So I said when I was young.

If I sang that song again,

’Twould not be with that refrain,

Which but suits an idle tongue.

Youth has gone, and hope gone with it,

Gone the strong desire for fame.

Laurels are not for the old.

Take them, lads. Give Senex gold,

What’s an everlasting name?

When my life was in its summer

One fair woman liked my looks:

Now that Time has driven his plough

In deep furrows on my brow,

I’m no more in her good books.

“There are gains for all our losses?”

Grave beside the wintry sea,

Where my child is, and my heart,

For they would not live apart,

What has been your gain to me?

No, the words I sang were idle,

And will ever so remain:

Death, and Age, and vanished Youth

All declare this bitter truth,

There’s a loss for every gain!