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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

Youth and Age

By Richard Dabney (1787?–1825)

[Born in Louisa Co., Va., about 1787. Died there, 1825. Poems, Original and Translated. Revised Edition. 1815.]

AS numerous as the stars of heaven

Are the fond hopes to mortals given;

But two illume, with brighter ray,

The morn and eve of life’s short day.

Its glowing tints, on youth’s fresh days,

The Lucifer of life displays,

And bids its opening joys declare

Their bloom of prime shall be so fair,

That all its minutes, all its hours

Shall breathe of pleasure’s sweetest flowers.

But false the augury of that star—

The Lord of passion drives his car,

Swift up the middle line of heaven,

And blasts each flower that hope had given.

And care and woe, and pain and strife,

All mingle in the noon of life.

Its gentle beams, on man’s last days,

The Hesperus of life displays:

When all of passion’s mid-day heat

Within the breast forgets to beat;

When calm and smooth our minutes glide,

Along life’s tranquillizing tide;

It points with slow, receding light,

To the sweet rest of silent night;

And tells, when life’s vain schemes shall end,

Thus will its closing light descend,

And as the eve-star seeks the wave,

Thus gently reach the quiet grave.