Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A SILVER WEDDING: B.F.B.-E.G.B., 1855-1880, by WILLIAM ALLEN BUTLER

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

A SILVER WEDDING: B.F.B.-E.G.B., 1855-1880, by                     Poet's Biography
First Line: Oft in other days and climes
Last Line: There unending love and light!
Subject(s): Anniversaries; Love; Marriage; Weddings; Husbands; Wives

OFT in other days and climes
Have I heard the silver chimes
Of some high cathedral tower,
Ringing out the passing hour,
With their soft and rhythmic flow,
Like a streamlet murmuring low,
Rising, swelling, clear and strong,
Soaring like a seraph's song,
Caught from some bright sphere on high,
Chanted between Earth and Sky.

From the lofty tower of Time
Rings to-night a silver chime,
Down the years its murmur swells,
The melody of marriage bells;
Round this roof-tree softly floats
The ripple of its dulcet notes,
Bringing back with memories bright
Visions of the wedding-night;
Sweetest thoughts their music lend,
Vows are plighted, prayers ascend,
Love's gay carols fill the air,
While the young and happy pair
Pass the gate of wedded life,
Bride and bridegroom—man and wife.

As the day comes round again,
In the garland woven then,
Worn through all the changing years,
Not a withered leaf appears;
Still with bridegroom and with bride
Peace and trust and joy abide,
Bright love's dawning, but more bright
Is its calm, meridian height;
Now as then, along their way
Brightest lights of friendship play,
Rarest joy, their children stand
Round them, an unbroken band;
Manly forms are by their side,
Sons well worth a parent's pride,
Shapely arrows, straight and strong,
Of whom saith the Psalmist's song,
Happy is the man who sees
His own quiver full of these.
Blessings be on all the boys
In their struggles, toils, and joys,
Here or absent, everywhere,
May their lives be true and fair,
True to manhood's lofty trust,
Loyal, patient, brave, and just.
Blessings too on her who clings
Underneath these sheltering wings,
As a nestling flower which grows
Screened from every wind that blows.
Father's love and mother's care
Long may this sweet flowret share,
Wealth of brother's love untold,
Wreathed and woven sevenfold.

In this happy time and place,
As our thoughts the Past retrace,
Ah, what vanished forms are these
Crowding all our memories!
Loved and loving, lost to sight,
All are with us here to-night.
Close beside us where we stand
Joy and Grief come hand in hand.
If on Joy's too radiant brow
Grief must cast her shadow now,
Yet on Grief's pale cheek will fall
Joy's soft beam that shines for all,
And their faces both are bright,
Lit with Love's undying light.

Him our reverent thoughts recall,
Dear to many, known of all,
In whose name such memories blend,
Sire and grandsire, father, friend.
Two and twenty years to-day
Since he left his house of clay,
Yet how near he seems to-night,
Voice as tender, eye as bright,
All the pure and saintly grace,
All the charm of form and face,
All the love his heart could give,
All his life, with us still live.

And one living sire we greet,
Gracing here the patriarch's seat;
Honors fitly won and worn
Well his veteran brow adorn,
Master of the healing art,
Wise in counsel, warm in heart,
In whose genial nature glows
Summer sun through winter snows,
Long may heavenly Love delay
The sunset of his golden day!

Thus do Memory's silver chimes
Chant our sad, our joyous times;
Soft the note of sadness falls,
Loud the happy chorus calls,
And we linger, nothing loth,
While we listen to them both,
Catching in their sweet refrain,
Borne on each receding strain,
As they faint and fainter grow,
This sweet lesson they bestow,
That these earthly ties of love
Have their source, their end, above.

Here the seed, the germ, the shoot,
There the ripe and perfect fruit;
Here the bud that blooms an hour,
There the bright, consummate flower;
Here scant joys and sorrows rude,
There the full beatitude;
Here brief days that bring the night,
There unending love and light!

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