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Editor's Selection of Poems
On Growing Old

by John Masefield

Be with me, Beauty, for the fire is dying; 
My dog and I are old, too old for roving. 
Man, whose young passion sets the spindrift flying, 
Is soon too lame to march, too cold for loving. 
I take the book and gather to the fire, 
Turning old yellow leaves; minute by minute 
The clock ticks to my heart. A withered wire, 
Moves a thiun ghost of music in the spinet. 
I cannot sail your seas, I cannot wander 
Your cornland, nor your hill-land, nor your valleys 
Ever again, nore share the battle yonder 
Where the young knight the broken squadron rallies. 
Only stay quiet while my mind remembers 
The beauty of fire from the beauty of embers. 

Beauty, have pity! for the strong have power, 
The rich their wealth, the beautiful their grace, 
Summer of man its sunlight and its flower. 
Spring-time of man, all April in a face. 
Only, as in the jostling in the Strand, 
Where the mob thrusts, or loiters, or is loud, 
The beggar with the saucer in his hand 
Asks only a penny from the passing crowd, 
So, from this glittering world with all its fashion, 
Its fire, and play of men, its stir, its march, 
Let me have wisdom, Beauty, wisdom and passion, 
Bread to the soul, rain when the summers parch. 
Give me but these, and though the darkness close 
Even the night will blossom as the rose. 
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