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Poem by Henry Newbolt
I sat by the granite pillar, and sunlight fell Where the sunlight fell of old, And the hour was the hour my heart remembered well, And the sermon rolled and rolled As it used to roll when the place was still unhaunted, And the strangest tale in the world was still untold. And I knew that of all this rushing of urgent sound That I so clearly heard, The green young forest of saplings clustered round Was heeding not one word: Their heads were bowed in a still serried patience Such as an angel's breath could never have stirred. For some were already away to the hazardous pitch, Or lining the parapet wall, And some were in glorious battle, or great and rich, Or throned in a college hall: And among the rest was one like my own young phantom, Dreaming for ever beyond my utmost call. "O Youth," the preacher was crying, "deem not thou Thy life is thine alone; Thou bearest the will of the ages, seeing how They built thee bone by bone, And within thy blood the Great Age sleeps sepulchred Till thou and thine shall roll away the stone. "Therefore the days are coming when thou shalt burn With passion whitely hot; Rest shall be rest no more; thy feet shall spurn All that thy hand hath got; And One that is stronger shall gird thee, and lead thee swiftly Whither, O heart of Youth, thou wouldest not." And the School passed; and I saw the living and dead Set in their seats again, And I longed to hear them speak of the word that was said, But I knew that I longed in vain. And they stretched forth their hands, and the wind of the spirit took them Lightly as drifted leaves on an endless plain.
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