FOURSCORE and fourteen years he trod
The pilgrim path ordained by God:
The merry child, the happy boy,
The active man in full employ
Of mind and body, heart and brain,
Till, tending towards Home again,
His last fond gaze dwelt on the flowers
That oft had cheered his leisure hours,
And simple thoughts of love in heaven
Were to his peaceful spirit given.
At plenteous board, in homely state,
The patriarch of four ages sate:
Grey-headed children told their cares,
While the next race, in happy pairs
Of youth and beauth, wandered round
His neatly-planted orchard ground;
And little ones with beaming eyes,
At some new toy or glad surprise,
Sent love and kisses from afar,
With thanks to dear, great-grandpapa.
Oh! wondrous change! a vacant chair,
Silence and stillness everywhere;
A mute farewell, a dreamless sleep
O'er which the fondest dare not weep:
Awaking with unclouded eyes,
He sees a Father in the skies.
And, in the birth of joy and love
Our best conceptions far above,
Hears the glad words: “Come home, my son.”
And knows that life has just begun.