Verse > John Greenleaf Whittier > The Poetical Works in Four Volumes
John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892).  The Poetical Works in Four Volumes.  1892.
Poems Subjective and Reminiscent
          Originally prefixed to the volume, The King’s Missive and other Poems.

I SPREAD a scanty board too late;
The old-time guests for whom I wait
  Come few and slow, methinks, to-day.
Ah! who could hear my messages
Across the dim unsounded seas        5
  On which so many have sailed away!
Come, then, old friends, who linger yet,
And let us meet, as we have met,
  Once more beneath this low sunshine;
And grateful for the good we ’ve known,        10
The riddles solved, the ills outgrown,
  Shake hands upon the border line.
The favor, asked too oft before,
From your indulgent ears, once more
  I crave, and, if belated lays        15
To slower, feebler measures move,
The silent sympathy of love
  To me is dearer now than praise.
And ye, O younger friends, for whom
My hearth and heart keep open room,        20
  Come smiling through the shadows long,
Be with me while the sun goes down,
And with your cheerful voices drown
  The minor of my even-song.
For, equal through the day and night,        25
The wise Eternal oversight
  And love and power and righteous will
Remain: the law of destiny
The best for each and all must be,
  And life its promise shall fulfil.


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