Verse > Anthologies > Hamilton Fish Armstrong, ed. > The Book of New York Verse
Hamilton Fish Armstrong, ed.  The Book of New York Verse.  1917.
Le Grenier
By Robertson Trowbridge
        “Dans un grenier qu’on est bien à vingt ans.”

HERE is the street—the house is standing yet!
  Four stories up the little window gleams.
The basement still announces “Rooms to Let”;
  Through the wide door the dusty sunlight streams.
But how the place has changed! Across the way        5
  A tenement its swarming bulk uprears—
’Twas here I weathered it for many a day,
  With Youth and Hope for friends, at Twenty Years.
A small hall-room! I seek it half by stealth—
  Who cares? the world may know it if it will!        10
The worst is told. I had stout heart, good health,
  A modest clerkship, wants more modest still;
Companions too, (I had companions then!)—
  What room in all my “up-town palace” hears
Such peals of mirth as yonder little den        15
  When I and Youth kept house, at Twenty Years!
’Twas here I brought my bride. In that dim place
  The too brief summer of our joy first smiled.
Which of your carpet-knights, my queenly Grace,
  To such a lot will woo your mother’s child?        20
Just Powers! how dared we to be gay and glad,
  To face the world, unvexed by cramping fears?
Rash?—reckless? We were mad!—how nobly mad
  With the brave wine of Love and Twenty Years!
Once, as we listened at the window there,        25
  In the warm sunlight of an April day,
A sound of loyal thunder filled the air—
  The Massachusetts Sixth marched down Broadway.
O gallant hearts and times! O drum and fife!
  In ’62 I joined the volunteers.        30
Poor wounded soldier, lonely waiting wife,
  We learned what glory meant, at Twenty Years!
It’s time to go. The place looks chill and drear.
  Fate! were it lot of mine to overlive
But half the happy days I’ve counted here,        35
  I’d give—what have I that I would not give?—
Again to struggle on, to breast the tide,
  To know the worst of Fortune’s frowns and fears,
Brave heart within, my darling at my side,
  And all the world to win, at Twenty Years!        40

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