Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1861–1889
Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889
Time, Tireless Tramp
By Clifford Anderson Lanier (1844–1908)
[Born in Griffin, Ga., 1844. Died in Montgomery, Ala., 1908.]

O TIME, thou running tramp so fleet,
  If thou wouldst only lag awhile!
I pause to ease my weary feet
  And thou hast sped a mile.
How long a journey may I take        5
  With thee? Is life but just one stage?
Our next inn death? New life the break
  Of dawning age on age?
Millennial eons round, like flowers,
  Thou must have known in bud and bloom;        10
And secular days from crescent powers
  Waning to sunless gloom.
Didst chat with Luna, ere she grew
  So chastely sad and ghostly cold,
About her fairness ere she knew        15
  The wrinkle of growing old?
Art come to age’s memory yet?
  Wilt gossip of thine earliest days?
The middle countless years forget
  And sing us primal lays?        20
A hundred thousand springs eclipse
  In blank forgetfulness. Retrace
Some million stades, and on thy lips
  And round thy youthful face
Let speak the word, let shine the light        25
  That sang and shone when stars were born!
Wast thou Beginning’s eremite
  Unwed, alone, forlorn?
How old wast thou when Adam played
  With Flora and the Fauns and Pan;        30
What time throned Jah from lustrous shade
  Spake music unto man?
Beyond do vaster oceans roll?
  How long canst thou expect to be?
All time thy body, timeless soul,        35
  Hast reached maturity?
Thou seem’st a Jack-o’-lantern thought,
  E’er dancing over fens of fern,
Fitful, afeard of getting caught,
  And dark when thou shouldst burn.        40
Did God exhale thee while he slept,
  The very vapor of his breath,
That, breath of Life, thou yet hast kept
  The Elfin-ness of Death?

  The Independent. 1889.

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