Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
1194. The Golden Age
 
By Ernest Francisco Fenollosa
 
 
THIS world was not
  As it now is seen:
It once was clothed
  With a deeper green;
And rarer gems        5
  Than the ice-caves hold
The sea brought up
  On the sands of gold.
 
But rust of ages,
  The breath of Time,        10
The meadows covered
  With early rime;
And the wild grass faded,
  The gems were gone,
And the wave fell cold        15
  As it thundered on.
 
In bygone ages
  The world was fair,
And the moon-god played
  With her golden hair;        20
And the paling stars
  With love-white arms
Bent down to welcome
  A sister’s charms.
 
The air lay sweet        25
  With the breath of pines;
The hill-tops glowed
  With their wealth of mines;
And sweet, and low,
  And rich, and free,        30
The wild, dark music
  Stole over the sea.
 
And the sea-waves laughed
  At the saffron moon;
And the musk-rose smiled        35
  With her soul of June;
And the golden age
  Of Nature’s years
No warning heard
  Of her coming tears.        40
 
But the hand of man
  Was the sword of death:
A poison lurked
  In his savage breath,
And the wealth of years        45
  And the glow of years
Were drowned in a flood
  Of swelling tears.
 
The world was fair
  In the days of yore;        50
But that golden age
  Shall come no more.
The sun may shine,
  And wild flowers bloom;
But the goal of all        55
  Is the open tomb,—
 
The end of all
  Is the silent grave;
And beauty lies
  In the cold still wave.        60
And the world shall harden
  The hearts of men
Till it hear the voice
  Of its Christ again.
 

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