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Poem by Caroline Norton
The Pilgrim of Life
PILGRIM, who toilest up life's weary steep, To reach the summit still with pleasure crowned; Born but to sigh and smile; to sin and weep, Dost mark the busy multitudes around? Dost mourn, with those who tread with fainting feet, And blighted worn-out heart, the self same road? Dost laugh with those who think their travel sweet, And deem existence no unwelcome load?— Ah, no! unconscious of their joy or woe, Quick hurrying onward still, or gazing back, With feeble lustre round their planet glow A few beloved, connected with thy track; Dear links of life, for whom to toil is bliss; Circlet of stars in young hope's diadem; Gay lightsome hearts who know no joy but this— To be together is enough for them. Thou pausest on thy way—one light is set— No power of love relumes the torch of life; Whate'er it was, 'tis lost—and vain regret Pursues the rosy babe, or faithful wife. 'Tis past—'tis gone—the brightness of those eyes Can cheer no more thy melancholy home: But grief may not endure—new joys arise; The past is not—but thou hast years to come! New joys arise—eager thou pressest on, Hope's brilliant mockery deceiving still. And now thou weepest o'er delusions gone, Now hail'st with transport days devoid of ill. Yet ever as thou goest on thy way, However bright may be the present hour, Clings to thy mind with brightest, purest ray, The joy thou could'st not hold, the faded flower— Still dearest seems the past; and as each light, Extinguished, leaves thee lone, through memory's tears More dim the future rises to thy sight, More bright the visions of thine early years. Pilgrim of Life! why slackenest thou thy speed? Why is that brow of eager hope o'ercast? A pause—a struggle—and the hour decreed Mingles for aye the present with the past!
Caroline Norton's other poems:
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