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THE old man's answer. 249
Hope spread o'er their features as glowing a charm, And hearts, that I clung to, were beating as warm.
How clear in the eye of my memory shine, The bright young faces that circled me then!
They seem, as the sun of my life declines, More oft with my dreary visions to blend;
For as age advances, days, long since gone,
Seem fresh as the deeds on yesterday done.
O! methinks I can see them now;
But where has the gladness gone,. Which beam'd from each radiant brow,
And over my young heart shone ? It has fled from the earth like spring's sweet
breath, Those smiles have been stolen by time and death.
Some early and happily pass'd away, With a death-light on the wasted cheek;
And the eye, lighted up by a slow decay, Beam'd languidly forth, so clear, and meek;
And so slowly the brow became white and sad,
It scarcely changed when death's impress was made.
And others departed as quickly from earth, As the meteor shoots beyond our sight;
Their voices are silent around the hearth, Each dwelling has lost its former light: