Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE ELDER'S REBUKE, by EMILY JANE BRONTE

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE ELDER'S REBUKE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Listen! When your hair, like mine
Last Line: If I have wronged rosina's love --
Alternate Author Name(s): Bell, Ellis
Variant Title(s): From A Dungeon Wall In ... Southern Cottage;from A Dungeon Wall In The Southern College
Subject(s): Aging

'Listen! when your hair like mine
Takes a tint of silver grey,
When your eyes, with dimmer shine,
Watch life's bubbles float away,

'When you, young man, have borne like me
The weary weight of sixty-three
Then shall penance sore be paid
For these hours so wildly squandered
And the words that now fall dead
On your ears be deeply pondered
Pondered and approved at last
But their virtue will be past!

'Glorious is the prize of Duty
Though she be a serious power
Treacherous all the lures of Beauty
Thorny bud and poisonous flower!

'Mirth is but a mad beguiling
Of the golden gifted Time --
Love -- a demon meteor wiling
Heedless feet to gulfs of crime.

'Those who follow earthly pleasure
Heavenly Knowledge will not lead
Wisdom hides from them her treasure,
Virtue bids them evil speed!

'Vainly may their hearts, repenting,
Seek for aid in future years --
Wisdom scorned knows no relenting --
Virtue is not won by tears

'Fain would we your steps reclaim
Waken fear and holy shame
And to this end, our council well
And kindly doomed you to a cell
Whose darkness, may perchance, disclose
A beacon-guide from sterner woes' --

So spake my judge -- then seized his lamp
And left me in the dungeon damp,
A vault-like place whose stagnant air
Suggests and nourishes despair!

Rosina, this had never been
Except for you, my despot queen!
Except for you the billowy sea
Would now be tossing under me
The wind's voice my bosom thrill
And my glad heart bound wilder still

Flying before the rapid gale
Those wondrous southern isles to hail
Which wait for my companions free
But thank your passion -- not for me!

You know too well -- and so do I
Your haughty beauty's sovereignty
Yet have I read those falcon eyes --
Have dived into their mysteries --
Have studied long their glance and feel
It is not love those eyes reveal --

They Flash -- they burn with lightning shine
But not with such fond fire as mine;
The tender star fades faint and wan
Before Ambition's scorching sun --
So deem I now -- and Time will prove
If I have wronged Rosina's love --

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