Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
1460. An Epilogue at Wallack’s
By John Elton Wayland (“Idas”)
THE PLAY was done;
  The mimic lovers of the stage
Were safe united, with their mimic battles won;
  But while the prompter closed his well-scored page,
And on his bell a willing finger laid,        5
  An old man, stately, kind, and hale,
In mould of courtly fashion made,
  Set forth the moral of the tale.
Much bent with time,
  The frost that silvered on his brow        10
Had left its markings, lined and figured like the rime,
  Which on the pane the warming noon-day glow
Has smoothed and softened with its cheery smile.
  And while he spoke they lent him willing ears;
For warmest youth of heart the while        15
  Shone through the winter of his years.
’T was not the words,
  For they were simple as the tales
Some good old nurse’s well-taxed memory hoards
  Against the time when fairy folk-lore fails.        20
He spoke in well-worn terms of good advice:
  How fathers should not draw too ready rein,
Nor sons take umbrage in a trice
  At fathers’ counsels,—these and more again.
But as he spoke        25
  The threadbare words they knew so well,
Came rippling streamlets of applause that broke
  In throbbing oceans as the curtain fell.
For youth and age, pride, poverty, e’en sin,
  Fair maid and bloodless pedagogue,        30
All felt the world of nearer kin
  The while John Gilbert spoke—The Epilogue.


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