Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. I. Of Home: of Friendship
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume I. Of Home: of Friendship.  1904.
Poems of Home: IV. Youth
Youth and Love
Philip James Bailey (1816–1902)
From “Festus”

        SAY gray-beards what they please,
The heart of age is like an emptied wine-cup;
Its life lies in a heel-tap: how can age judge?
’T were a waste of time to ask how they wasted theirs;
But while the blood is bright, breath sweet, skin smooth,        5
And limbs all made to minister delight;
Ere yet we have shed our locks, like trees their leaves,
And we stand staring bare into the air;
He is a fool who is not for love and beauty.
*        *        *        *        *
None but the brave and beautiful can love.        10
Oh give me to the young, the fair, the free,
The brave, who would breast a rushing, burning world
Which came between him and his heart’s delight.
Mad must I be, and what ’s the world? Like mad
For itself. And I to myself am all things, too.        15
If my heart thundered would the world rock? Well,
Then let the mad world fight its shadow down.
Soon there may be nor sun nor world nor shadow.
But thou, my blood, my bright red running soul,
Rejoice thou like a river in thy rapids.        20
Rejoice, thou wilt never pale with age, nor thin;
But in thy full dark beauty, vein by vein
Serpent-wise, me encircling, shalt to the end
Throb, bubble, sparkle, laugh, and leap along.
Make merry, heart, while the holidays shall last.        25
Better than daily dwine, break sharp with life;
Like a stag, sunstruck, top thy bounds and die.
*        *        *        *        *
Oh! it is great to feel that nought of earth,
Hope, love, nor dread, nor care for what ’s to come,
Can check the royal lavishment of life;        30
But, like a streamer strown upon the wind,
We fling our souls to fate and to the future.

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