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Growing Old
JK (1784-1856 / Jamaica)

Growing Old

AFTER THOMAS CAREW


Shyest Lady!—say not so;
Say not you are growing old.
'Tis a tale that, well you know,
Fits me most if truly told.
Then, shy Lady! be more bold—
Say not you are growing old.

Bloomy faces, surface graces,
Pretty prattle, yea or nay;
Smiles all empty, meant to tempt ye,
These indeed may fade away.
But the smiles that beam from sense;
But the eyes' intelligence;
But the voice with feeling fraught;
But the word of serious thought;

With self-judgment ever lowly;
These be charms that fade but slowly.
In yonder new-found world, they say,
When summer-suns have passed away,
And autumn-cloud and fog and rain
And wind and cold are come again;
'Mid all this tristful weather-strife
Doth a new summer start to life.
Their Indian summer call they this,
And calm (they say) and bright it is.
More calmly bright, more sweetly gay,
Than that which late hath passed away.

Lady, thou hast felt the touch
Of sickness and of sorrow much;
But they now shall both be past,
Like that singing autumn-blast,

Which yet singeth augury
Of good season, soon to be.
Brighter suns shall rise before thee,
Softer breezes shall flit o'er thee.
Thou shalt have thine Indian summer;
And we will welcome the New Comer.

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