In days not very distant I believed
(Bowed down as I must be by such a load)
My fate fast sealed, my destiny achieved;
I could not then have dreamt that bitter road
Would lead to this secure and far abode.
But such is man: The deepest griefs decay
By slow degrees as day succeeds on day.
Surely I had then ample cause to crave
To make an end of all things and to die,
Looking to win to safety in the grave,
Fretting impatiently at every tie
That held me still to life - yet here am I,
A thousand leagues from native soil and sky,
Possessed of life and not devoid of peace,
With strength and hopes that every day increase.
All arguments may be employed in vain;
Persuasions the most cogent may be tried;
And all shall be rejected with disdain.
Yet pain shall not eternally abide.
With time its fluctuations will subside.
The turbulence and vehemence and alarm
Shall be succeeded finally by a calm.
I now recall with wonder and with shame
The wild infatuation of those days,
For well I know I am not now the same.
A change has come. I walk in other ways.
I showed no fortitude, deserve no praise,
But imperceptibly with passing time
New thoughts replaced the old within my mind.
I marvel now I could not realize
That all the beauty held in earth and sea,
And kind affections and the exercise
Of human sympathies had power to be
A spring of comfort flowing still for me;
And labours after wisdom yet might teach
A means of happiness within my reach.
If you have any comments on this poem, Ann Keith would
be pleased to hear from you.