I wandered there when my veins seemed bursting
With life's rare rapture, and keen delight;
And yet in my heart was a constant thirsting
For something over the mountain-height.
I wanted to stand in the blaze of glory
That turned to crimson the peaks of snow,
And the winds from the west all breathed a story
Of realms and regions I longed to know.
I saw on the garden's south side growing
The brightest blossoms that breathe of June;
I saw in the east how the sun was glowing,
And the gold air shook with a wild bird's tune;
I heard the drip of a silver fountain,
And the pulse of a young laugh throbbed with glee;
But still I looked out over the mountain
Where unnamed wonders awaited me.
I came at last to the western gateway
That led to the path I longed to climb;
But a shadow fell on my spirit straightway,
For close at my side stood greybeard Time.
I paused, with feet that were fain to linger
Hard by that garden's golden gate;
But Time spoke, pointing with one stern finger;
"Pass on," he said, "for the day grows late."
And now on the chill grey cliffs I wander;
The heights recede which I thought to find,
And the light seems dim on the mountain yonder,
When I think of the garden I left behind.
Should I stand at last on its summit's splendor,
I know full well it would not repay
For the fair lost tints of the dawn so tender
That crept up over the edge o' day.
I would go back, but the ways are winding,
If ways there are to that land, in sooth;
For what man succeeds in ever finding
A path to the garden of his lost youth?
But I think sometimes, when the June stars glisten,
That a rose-scent drifts from far away;
And I know, when I lean from the cliffs and listen,
That a young laugh breaks on the air like spray.
Poems of Passion by Ella Wheeler
Chicago : Belford, Clarke & Co, 1883.
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