I started out in a cloak of pride,
With talent, too, that I did not hide;
I started out on Life's stony road,
Ambition's weight was my only load,
And the way seemed fair in the dawn's first glow,
And I hurried--ran--for I did not know!
Love smiled from a garden by the way,
And called to me, but I would not stray
From the road that stretched like a ribbon white,
Up endless hills to an endless night.
Love smiled at me, but I pushed ahead,
And love fell back in the garden--dead--
But I did not care as I hastened by,
And I did not pause for regret or sigh....
The road before was a path of hope,
And every hill with its gentle slope
Led up to heights I had dreamed and prayed
To reach some day--Ah! I might have stayed
With Love and Youth in the garden gay,
That smiled at me from beside the way.
I plodded up, and the gentle hills
Grew hard to climb, and the laughing rills
Were torrents peopled with sodden forms;
The sky grew black with the threat of storms,
And rocks leaped out and they bruised my feet,
And faint I grew in the fever heat.
(But ever on led the path that lay
As grey as dust in the waning day.)
My back was bent, and my heart was sore,
And the cloak of pride that I grandly wore
Was rent and patched and not fair to see--
Ambition, talent, seemed naught to me....
But I struggled on 'till I reached the top, For only then did I dare to stop!
I stood on the summit gazing down,
And the earth looked sordid and dull and brown,
And neutral-tinted and neutral-souled;
And all of life seemed a story told,
And the only spot that was bright to see
Was a patch of green that had bloomed for me
Where a garden lived in a spring long fled,
When Love stood smiling-- But love was dead!