After Fifty Years

Category: Poetry

Just fifty years, my daughters,
Just fifty years, my son,
Since your sire and I together
The march of life begun.
It does not seem so long ago
As half a hundred years,
Since hand in hand we started out,
To face life's toils and tears.

And toils, and tears, too, we have met;
Yet sunbeams oft have come -
Many and beautiful, and bright -
To cheer our happy home;
Sweet infant faces, thro' the years,
Are smiling back to me;
And, God be praised, each precious one
Still at my side I see!

Yet ye are changed, my children three,
Your baby-bloom is gone;
And you are growing old, I see,
Grey hairs are coming on;
Yet when I, musing, close my eyes,
I see you as you were
In those old years when cloudless skies
Dropped sunshine on your hair.

The patter of your busy feet
Still rings upon the floor,
And song, and jest, and laughter sweet
Float round me as of yore; -
Yet when I open eager eyes,
To watch your pastimes gay,
Your children's faces round me rise -
Yourselves have done with play.

And there was one - a little one -
Who slumbered on my breast -
I loved and cherished as my own,
That dove that sought your nest;
And she is here, - I see her face
Among my own to-day; -
Thank God for all the loves I trace,
Along life's devious way!

And yet there's one we miss to-day, -
The last to quit our side, -
The one who wandered far away
The day she was a bride.
Were she but here, our chain of love
No missing link would show,
And every face we called our own
Would still around us glow.

Well, half a century is, I know,
A long, long stretch of time;
And truly once we deemed it so,
When we were in our prime.
But as we've glided down the years
They've shorter seemed to grow,
And now, how brief the time appears
Since fifty years ago!

And, husband, you and I have changed
Since that old wedding day; -
I viewed you then with partial eyes -
"Fond, girlish eyes" you'd say; -
But were my eyes as keen as then,
And I allowed to scan
The handsomest of handsome men,
You still would be the man.

The man of men! - 'twas so I thought
Just fifty years ago,
When you and I joined hands for life;
And yet, I did not know
Half - half as well as I do now,
How dear you were that day;
And ever dearer still you've grown
As years have rolled away!

And still this fiftieth wedding-day
I have thee by my side -
An old man, weary, bent, and grey,
My tall tree tempest tried.
And yet I do aver that thou
Art fairer in my sight,
As in thy face I gaze just now,
Than on our wedding night!

And husband - oh, the best of all,
We'll soon be young again,
And free to tread with buoyant feet
A brighter, holier plain; -
We'll soon have done with pain and age,
And weariness and strife,
Soon end our earthly pilgrimage
In new, exultant life.

For you and I, dear, have a home -
A mansion of our own -
Where change and blight can never come,
And sorrow is unknown;
And soon we're going to enter in,
And with our Lord sit down, -
Heirs of His glory and His bliss,
His kingdom and His crown!

Many we love have thither gone,
And soon we'll be there too, -
And, children, you will follow on,
We shall look out for you
Oh, may we, in that blessed throng
Of saved ones robed in white,
Not miss a single dear loved face
That smiles on ours to night!

Just fifty years of wedded life
In the dear past I see,
Before us spreads - not fifty years -
But all Eternity
And while, 'mid ever deepening bliss,
The tranquil ages glide,
Still, hand in hand and heart in heart,
With Christ we shall abide!

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