We started in the morning, a morning full of glee,
All in the early morning, a goodly company;
And some were full of merriment, and all were kind and dear:
But the others have pursued their way, and left me sitting here.
My feet were not so fleet as theirs, my courage soon was gone,
And so I lagged and fell behind, although they cried "Come on!"
They cheered me and they pitied me, but one by one went by,
For the stronger must outstrip the weak; there is no remedy.
Some never looked behind, but smiled, and swiftly, hand in hand,
Departed with, a strange sweet joy I could not understand;
I know not by what silver streams their roses bud and blow,
Rut I am glad--O very glad--they should be happy so.
And some they went companionless, yet not alone, it seemed;
For there were sounds of rustling wings, and songs,--or else we dreamed;
And a glow from lights invisible to us lit up the place,
And tinged, as if with glory, each dear and parting face.
So happy, happy did they look, as one by one they went,
That we, who missed them sorely, were fain to be content;
And I, who sit the last of all, left far behind, alone,
Cannot be sorry for their sakes, but only for my own.
My eyes seek out the different paths by which they went away,
And oft I wish to follow, but oftener wish to stay;
For fair as may the new things be, the farther things they know,
This is a pleasant resting-place, a pleasant place also.
There are flowers for the gathering, which grow my path anear,
The skies are fair, and everywhere the sun is warm and clear:
I may have missed the wine of life, the strong wine and the new,
But I have my wells of water, my sips of honey-dew.
So when I turn my thoughts from those who shared my dawn of day,
My fresh and joyous morning prune, and now are passed away,
I can see just how sweet all is, how good, and be resigned
To sit thus in the afternoon, alone and left behind.