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Thomas R. Lounsbury, ed. (1838–1915). Yale Book of American Verse. 1912.

Edmund Clarence Stedman 1833–1908

Edmund Clarence Stedman

182 Si Jeunesse Savait!

WHEN the veil from the eyes is lifted

The seer’s head is gray;

When the sailor to shore has drifted

The sirens are far away.

Why must the clearer vision,

The wisdom of Life’s late hour,

Come, as in Fate’s derision,

When the hand has lost its power?

Is there a rarer being,

Is there a fairer sphere

Where the strong are not unseeing,

And the harvests are not sere;

Where, ere the seasons dwindle,

They yield their due return;

Where the lamps of knowledge kindle

While the flames of youth still burn?

O, for the young man’s chances!

O, for the old man’s will!

Those flee while this advances,

And the strong years cheat us still.