The years are many, the changes more,
Since wind and sun on the wild sweet shore
Where Joyous Gard stands stark by the sea
With face as bright as in years of yore
Shone, swept, and sounded, and laughed for glee
More deep than a man's or a child's may be,
On a day when summer was wild and glad,
And the guests of the wind and the sun were we.
The light that lightens from seasons clad
With darkness now, is it glad or sad?
Not sad but glad should it shine, meseems,
On eyes yet fain of the joy they had.
For joy was there with us; joy that gleams
And murmurs yet in the world of dreams
Where thought holds fast, as a constant warder,
The days when I rode by moors and streams,
Reining my rhymes into buoyant order
Through honied leagues of the northland border.
Though thought or memory fade, and prove
A faithless keeper, a thriftless hoarder,
One landmark never can change remove,
One sign can the years efface not. Love,
More strong than death or than doubt may be,
Treads down their strengths, and abides above.
Yea, change and death are his servants: we,
Whom love of the dead links fast, though free,
May smile as they that beheld the dove
Bear home her signal across the sea.