To my brother Charles
NOT that the gift of poesy is mine,
Nor that I claim the poet’s meed of praise,
But in remembrance of the golden days
Of youth, have I inscribed these simple lays
To thee, my brother, and to auld lang syne.
The rolling years have thinned our locks of brown
To a scant fleece of salt-and-pepper gray;
More rapidly the seasons pass away;
With steadier, slower beat our pulses play;
We like the country rather than the town,
And have a strong dislike to noise and riot.
The fire of youth no longer warms our veins;
And, being subject to rheumatic pains,
We grow prophetic as to winds and rains,
And like to be well fed, well clothed, and quiet
That we are past our youth is all too plain;
And nearing rapidly the Dark Divide.
Oh, passing weary is this middle tide
Of life, which I would give, with aught beside,
To live one year of boyhood o’er again!
It may not be. The wrinkles on each face
Are past erasure: and not many years
Can glide ere one of us with blinding tears
Shall stand beside the marble which uprears
Above a friend the world can not replace.