A New Year's Greeting

The century numbers fourscore years;
You, fortressed in your teens,
To Time's alarums close your ears,
And, while he devastates your peers,
Conceive not what he means.

If e'er life's winter fleck with snow
Your hair's deep shadowed bowers,
That winsome head an art would know
To make it charm, and wear it so
As 'twere a wreath of flowers.

If to such fairies years must come,
May yours fall soft and slow
As, shaken by a bee's low hum,
The rose-leaves waver, sweetly dumb,
Down to their mates below!

by James Russell Lowell

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