Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE MEASURE OF TIME, by ALICE CARY



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THE MEASURE OF TIME, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: A breath, like the wind's breath, may carry
Last Line: And truth has its birth.
Subject(s): Time


A BREATH, like the wind's breath, may carry
A name far and wide,
But the measure of time does not tally
With any man's pride.

'T is not a wild chorus of praises,
Nor chance, nor yet fate, --
'T is the greatness born with him, and in him,
That makes the man great.

And when in the calm self-possession
That birthright confers,
The man is stretched out to her measure,
Fame claims him for hers.

Too proud too fall back on achievement,
With work in his sight,
His triumph may not overtake him
This side of the night.

And men, with his honors about them,
His grave-mound may pass,
Nor dream what a great heart lies under
Its short knotty grass.

But though he has lived thus unprospered,
And died thus, alone,
His face may not always be hid by
A hand-breadth of stone.

The long years are wiser than any
Wise day of them all,
And the hero at last shall stand upright, --
The base image fall.

The counterfeit may for a season
Deceive the wide earth,
But the lie, waxing great, comes to labor.
And truth has its birth.





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