The sins of Youth are hardly sins,
So frank they are and free.
'T is but when Middle-age begins
We need morality.
Ah, pause and weigh this bitter truth:
That Middle-age, grown cold,
No comprehension has of Youth,
No pity for the Old.
Youth, with his half-divine mistakes,
She never can forgive,
So much she hates his charm which makes
Worth while the life we live.
She scorns Old Age, whose tolerance
And calm, well-balanced mind
(Knowing how crime is born of chance)
Can pardon all mankind.
Yet she, alas! has all the power
Of strength and place and gold,
Man's every act, through every hour,
Is by her laws controlled.
All things she grasps with sordid hands
And weighs in tarnished scales.
She neither feels, nor understands,
And yet her will prevails!
Cold-blooded vice and careful sin,
Gold-lust, blind selfishness, -
The shortest, cheapest way to win
Some, worse than cheap, success.
Such are her attributes and aims,
Yet meekly we obey,
While she to guide and order claims
All issues of the day.
You seek for honour, friendship, truth?
Let Middle-age be banned!
Go, for warm-hearted acts, to Youth;
To Age, - to understand!