Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, LOVE AND TIME, by DENIS FLORENCE MCCARTHY



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LOVE AND TIME, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Two pilgrims from the distant plain
Last Line: And hid the loosening sands from view!
Alternate Author Name(s): Maccarthy, Denis Florence
Subject(s): Love


TWO pilgrims from the distant plain
Come quickly o'er the mossy ground.
One is a boy, with locks of gold
Thick curling round his face so fair;
The other pilgrim, stern and old,
Has snowy beard and silver hair.

The youth with many a merry trick
Goes singing on his careless way;
His old companion walks as quick,
But speaks no word by night or day.
Where'er the old man treads, the grass
Fast fadeth with a certain doom;
But where the beauteous boy doth pass
Unnumbered flowers are seen to bloom.

And thus before the sage, the boy
Trips lightly o'er the blooming lands,
And proudly bears a pretty toy,—
A crystal glass with diamond sands.
A smile o'er any brow would pass
To see him frolic in the sun,—
To see him shake the crystal glass,
And make the sands more quickly run.

And now they leap the streamlet o'er,
A silver thread so white and thin,
And now they reach the open door,
And now they lightly enter in:
"God save all here,"—that kind wish flies
Still sweeter from his lips so sweet;
"God save you kindly," Norah cries,
"Sit down, my child, and rest and eat."

"Thanks, gentle Norah, fair and good,
We 'll rest awhile our weary feet;
But though this old man needeth food,
There's nothing here that he can eat.
His taste is strange, he eats alone,
Beneath some ruined cloister's cope,
Or on some tottering turret's stone,
While I can only live on—Hope!

"A week ago, ere you were wed,—
It was the very night before,—
Upon so many sweets I fed
While passing by your mother's door,—
It was that dear, delicious hour
When Owen here the nosegay brought,
And found you in the woodbine bower,—
Since then, indeed, I 've needed naught."

A blush steals over Norah's face,
A smile comes over Owen's brow,
A tranquil joy illumes the place,
As if the moon were shining now;
The boy beholds the pleasing pain,
The sweet confusion he has done,
And shakes the crystal glass again,
And makes the sands more quickly run.

"Dear Norah, we are pilgrims, bound
Upon an endless path sublime;
We pace the green earth round and round,
And mortals call us LOVE and TIME;
He seeks the many, I the few;
I dwell with peasants, he with kings.
We seldom meet; but when we do,
I take his glass, and he my wings.

"And thus together on we go,
Where'er I chance or wish to lead;
And Time, whose lonely steps are slow,
Now sweeps along with lightning speed.
Now on our bright predestined way
We must to other regions pass;
But take this gift, and night and day
Look well upon its truthful glass.

"How quick or slow the bright sands' fall
Is hid from lovers' eyes alone:
If you can see them move at all,
Be sure your heart has colder grown.
'T is coldness makes the glass grow dry,
The icy hand, the freezing brow;
But warm the heart and breathe the sigh,
And then they 'll pass, you know not how."

She took the glass where Love's warm hands
A bright impervious vapor cast;
She looks, but cannot see the sands,
Although she feels they 're falling fast.
But cold hours came, and then, alas!
She saw them falling frozen through,
Till Love's warm light suffused the glass,
And hid the loosening sands from view!





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