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When man first looks

With fresh-born eyes

On this most lovely world.

‘Tis clad in glistening, radiant hours,

With wonders rich en-pearl’d,

And, newly,

Full of strange delights

And magic, fairy doors

Which, softly opening to the touch,

Beguilingly implore.

First sips enchant:

And soaring high on Fancy’s wings

Youth climbs to regions far,

Where Beauty sits in majesty

Cathedral’d in the stars.

But soon, full soon,

A palsied hand

Falls coldly on the heart;

The pageant dims, the glory fades,

The Gods in stealth depart.

And slowly,

As the hour-glass turns,

The trickling sands descend,

And all our dreams of yester-years

Time’s storms to tatters rend.

But that which was

Can be again:

No joy is lost for aye:

Tho’ shorn of leaves and bare of bough,

The tree still climbs the sky,

And thro’ the long and frosty nights

Sees Spring in Winter’s eye.

And just as Spring

Transmutes the woods

And frozen village ways,

So love, with warm and thrilling touch,

With alchemy divine,

Breathes softly o’er the deadened heart

And turns the dregs to wine.

(poem and drawing by Thurstan Bassett)