Light of the young, before you have grown old
The world will have grown weary of its youth,
All its cheap charity and loose-lipped truth,
And passion that goes naked—and grows cold.
Tire of a pity so akin to hate,
Turn on a truth that is so near to treason,
When Time, the god of traitors, in their season
Marks down for dated all the up-to-date.
Then shall men know by the great grace you are,
How something better than blind fear or blunder
Bade us stand back, where we could watch with wonder,
Ladies like landscapes, very fair and far.
A crowd shall call your high estranged face,
A mask of blind reaction and resistance,
Because you have made large the world with distance,
As God made large the universe with space.
Yet beautiful your feet upon the mountains,
Moving in soundless music shall return,
And they that look into your eyes shall learn—
Having forced up the secret sea in fountains.
And having vulgarised infinity,
And splashed their brains against the starry steeps,
In what unfathomable inward deeps
Dwells the last mystery men call Liberty.
When they shall say we scorned and held in thrall
Spirits like yours; the mother of the tribe
Slandered, a slave, a butt for slur and gibe,
You shall confound the one great slur of all.
The one great slander answered long ago
By Her that hid all things within her heart,
One speaking when the veil was rent apart,
"Women alone can keep a secret so."