11 DECEMBER 1880, Page 14



As sailors watch from their prison For the long, grey line of the coasts, I look to the past rearisen, And joys come over in hosts Like the white sea-birds from their roosts.

I love not th' indelicate present, The future's unknown to our quest, To-day is the life of the peasant, But the past is a haven of rest,— The joy of the past is the hest.

The rose of the past is better Than the rose we ravish to-day ; 'Tis holier, purer, and fitter To place on the shrine where we pray,— • For the secret thoughts we obey.

There, are no deceptions nor changes, There, all is placid and still; No grief, nor fate that estranges, Nor hope that no life can fulfil; But ethereal shelter from ill.

The coarser delights of the hour Tempt, and debauch and deprave; And we joy in a poisonous flower, Knowing that nothing can save Our flesh from the fate of the grave.

But surely we leave them, returning, In grief to the well-loved nest, Filled with an infinite yearning,

Knowing the past to be rest,—

That the things of the past are the best.