The Funeral of Youth: Threnody

The day that Youth had died,
there came to his grave-side,
In decent mourning, from the coutnry’s ends,
Those scatter’d friends
Who had liv’d the boon companions of his prime,
And laugh’d with him and sung with him and wasted,
In feast and wine and many-crown’d carouse,
The days and nights and dawnings of the time
When Youth kept open house,
Nor left untasted
Aught of his high emprise and ventures dear.
No quest of his unshar’d—
All these, with loitering feet and sad dead bar’d
Follow’d their old friend’s fire.
Folly went first,
With muffled bells and coxcomb still revers’d;
And after trod the bearers, had in hand—
Laughter, most hoarse, and Captain Pride with tann’d
And martial face all grim, and fussy Joy,
Who had to catch a train, and Lust, poor, sniveling boy;
These bore the dear departed.
Behind them, broken-hearted,
Came Grief, so noisy a widow, that all said,
‘Had he but wed
Her elder sister Sorrow, in her stead!’
And by her, trying to soothe her all the time,
The fatherless children, Colour, Tune, and Rhyme
(The sweet lad Rhyme), ran all-uncomprehending.
Then, at the way’s sad ending,
Round the raw frave they stay’d.    Old Wisdom read,
In mumbling tone, the Service for the Dead.
there stood Romance,
The furrowing tears had mark’d her rouged cheek;
Poor old Conceit, his wonder unassuag’d;
Dead Innocency’s daughter, Ignorance;
And shabby, ill-dress’d Generosity;
And Argument, too full or woe to speak;
Passion, grown portly, something middle-aged;
And Friendship—not a minute older, she;
Impatience, ever taking out his watch;
Faith, who was deaf, and had to lean, to catch
Old Wisdom’s endless drone.
Beauty was there,
Pale in her black; dry-ey’d; she stood alone.
Poor maz’d Imagination; Fancy wild;
Ardour, the sunlight on his greying hair;
Contentment, who had known Youth as a child
And never seen him since.     And Spring came too,
Dancing over the tombs, and brought him flowers
She did not stay for long.
And Truth, and Grace, and all the merry crew,
The laughing Winds and Rivers, and lithe Hours;
And Hope, the dewy-ey’d; and sorrowing Song;—
Yes, with much woe and mourning general,
At dead Youth’s funeral,
Even these were met once more together, all,
Who erst the fair and living Youth did know;
All, except only Love.    Love had died long ago.

This poem is in the public domain.