The Upland Path.

Wise men—or such as to the world seem wise,1
Picture old age the downhill path of Life,2
Dimmed by the vapours of a lower earth,3
Drawn from its stagnant waters. Nay, not so ;4
But, rather, upward where the mountains stand5
Guarding the young green valleys, lies his way6
On whose broad front is set the crown of years.7
Silent, and filled with beauty, shall he go,8
As one who travels towards the source of streams,9
And, pondering thoughtfully, comes unaware10
On landlocked tarns, whose stilly waters keep11
The face of heaven in memory !  Far below,12
The maddening rivers keep the seas in chase,13
Till the vexed ocean beats the curbing shore ;14
And, striving still for mastery, the rough winds15
Grapple the yielding argosies. Not for him16
Sounds their wild roar amid his calm of skies.17
Save when, perchance, some shriek of human woe18
Leaps to the clouds that roll beneath his feet,19
Touching the common nature in his heart,20
Unmoved he stands, and, in a trance of soul,21
Mid God-ward dreams, between the rifted peaks22
Beholds the face Divine. So, pressing on,23
Higher and higher still, and breathing still24
A clearer, purer air, he comes at length25
To earth’s last foothold, and stands face to face26
With the great Change !  Undaunted, undismayed, 27
Though round him close the everlasting hills,28
And darkness falls upon him as a shroud,29
He casts his feeble frame on Nature’s heart,30
That beats to his again ; then, heavenward-bound,31
Sets firm his foot upon the Path of Souls.32