The First Gray Hair.

The matron at her mirror, with her hand upon her brow,1
Sits gazing on her lovely face—aye lovely even now :2
Why doth she lean upon her hand with such a look of care ?3
Why steals that tear across her cheek ?— She sees her first gray hair.4
Time from her form hath ta’en away but little of its grace ;5
His touch of thought hath dignified the beauty of her face ;6
Yet she might mingle in the dance where maidens gaily trip,7
So bright is still her hazel eye, so beautiful her lip.8
The faded form is often mark’d by sorrow more than years ;9
The wrinkle on the cheek may be the course of secret tears ;10
The mournful lip may murmur of a love it ne’er confest,11
And the dimness of the eye betray a heart that cannot rest.12
But She hath been a happy wife ;— the lover of her youth13
May proudly claim the smile that pays the trial of his truth ;14
A sense of slight—of loneliness—hath never banish’d sleep ;15
Her life hath been a cloudless one ;— then, wherefore doth she weep ?16
She look’d upon her raven locks ;— what thoughts did they recall ?17
Oh ! not of nights when they were deck’d for banquet or for ball ;—18
They brought back thoughts of early youth, e’er she had learnt to check,19
With artificial wreaths, the curls that sported o’er her neck.20
She seem’d to feel her mother’s hand pass lightly through her hair,21
And draw it from her brow, to leave a kiss of kindness there ;22
She seem’d to view her father’s smile,-and feel the playful touch23
That sometimes feign’d to steal away the curls she prized so much.24
And now she sees her first gray hair ! oh, deem it not a crime25
For her to weep—when she beholds the first foot-mark of Time !26
She knows that, one by one, those mute mementos will increase,27
And steal youth, beauty, strength away, till life itself shall cease.28
Tis not the tear of vanity for beauty on the wane29
Yet though the blossom may not sigh to bud, and bloom again,30
It cannot but remember with a feeling of regret,31
The Spring for ever gone—the Summer sun so nearly set.32
Ah, Lady ! heed the monitor !  Thy mirror tells thee truth,33
Assume the matron’s folded veil, resign the wreath of youth ;34
Go !— bind it on thy daughter’s brow, in her thou’lt still look fair ;35
’Twere well would all learn wisdom who behold the first gray hair !36