Is it parting with the roundness
Of the smoothly moulded cheek?
Is it losing from the dimples
Half the flashing joy they speak?
Is it fading of the lustre
From the wavy, golden hair?
Is it finding on the forehead
Graven lines of thought and care?
Is it dropping, as the rose-leaves
Drop their sweetness overblown,
Household names that once were dearer,
More familiar than our own?
Is it meeting on the pathway
Faces strange and glances cold,
While the soul with moan and shiver
Whispers sadly, 'Growing old?'
Is it frowning at the folly
Of the ardent hopes of youth?
Is it cynic melancholy
At the rarity of truth?
Is it disbelief in loving?
Selfish hate, or miser's greed?
Then such blight of Nature's noblest
Is a 'growing old' indeed,
But the silver thread that shineth
Whitely in the thinning tress,
And the pallor where the bloom was,
Need not tell of bitterness:
And the brow's more earnest writing
Where it once was marble fair,
May be but the spirit's tracing
Of the peace of answered prayer.
If the smile has gone in deeper,
And the tears more quickly start,
Both together meet in music
Low and tender in the heart;
And in others' joy and gladness.
When the life can find its own,
Surely angels learn to listen
To the sweetness of the tone.
Nothing lost of all we planted
In the time of budding leaves;
Only some things bound in bundles
And set by-- our precious sheaves;
Only treasure kept in safety,
Out of reach and out of rust,
Till we clasp it grown the richer
Through the glory of our trust.
On the gradual sloping pathway,
As the passing years decline,
Gleams a golden love-light falling
Far from upper heights divine.
And the shadows from that brightness
Wrap them softly in their fold,
Who unto celestial whiteness
Walk, by way of growing old.