We, who have loved a long clean rapier,
Shall bend above an old man’s walking stick—
Shall prop the straight, proud swiftness which we were
With shaking hands that once were sure and quick.
And, who will cry the foulness of this shame:
That age has crept with its slow insolence
To falsify the cleanness of youth’s name,
And change impulse to sick indifference?
We who have searched for beauty down dark streets
And smelled spring mornings with the blood aleap,
Shall turn back home, when dusk with moonlight meets,
To lay the timid, troubled heart asleep.
Our swords played for the secret pulse of truth,
And we rode to the tireless hounds’ long cry;
But age will drop the leaping blade of youth
And nod at home when hounds are running by.
We, who so loved the serpent dart of steel,
Shall someday find our gallant fighting done:
Mouthy old men, whose senses scarcely feel,
Spending their long day mumbling in the sun.