The Palmer.

The faded palm-branch in his hand
Shew’d pilgrim from the Holy Land.
Art thou come from the far-off land at last ?1
Thou that hast wander’d long !2
Thou art come to a home whence the smile hath pass’d,3
With the merry voice of song.4
For the sunny glance and the bounding heart,5
Thou wilt seek—but all are gone ;6
They are parted ev’n as waters part,7
To meet in the deep alone !8
And thou—from thy lip is fled the glow,9
From thine eye the light of morn ;10
And the shades of thought o’erhang thy brow,11
And thy cheek with life is worn.12
Say what hast thou brought from the distant shore,13
For thy wasted youth to pay ?14
Hast thou treasure to bring thee joys once more ?15
Hast thou vassals to smooth thy way ?16
I have brought but the palm-branch in my hand,17
Yet I call not my bright youth lost !18
I have won but high thought in the Holy Land,19
Yet I count not too dear the cost !20
I look on the leaves of the deathless tree,—21
These records of my track ;22
And better than youth in its flush of glee,23
Are the memories they give me back !24
They speak of toil, and of high emprise,25
As in words of solemn cheer,26
They speak of lonely victories27
O’er Pain, and Doubt, and Fear.28
They speak of scenes, which have now become29
Bright pictures in my breast ;30
Where my spirit finds a glorious home,31
And the love of my heart can rest.32
The colours pass not from these away,33
Like tints of shower or sun ;34
Oh! beyond all treasures that know decay,35
Is the wealth my soul hath won !36
A rich light thence o’er my life’s decline,37
An inborn light is cast ;38
For the sake of the Palm from the Holy Shrine,39
I bewail not my bright days past !”40