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a web of many textures

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Yes, twenty years have winged their flight,
Since that mysterious word I spoke,
When, on a beauteous summer night,
I first assumed the flowery yoke.
I long had craved the blissful chain,
And cheerfully subscribed the vow;
Perhaps I 'd do the same again —
Perhaps — though I am older now.
Ah! well do I recall the time
When she, now pensive by my side,
Stood, in her blushing morning prime,
A tender, sweet, and bashful bride;
And I, so proud of that dear hand,
Could scarce contain myself for bliss; —
I 'd bought a tract of fairy land,
And sealed my purchase with a kiss.
For happiness we trimmed our sail,
My darling little bride and I;
Hope's breezes blew a pleasant gale,
And gently smiled the summer sky.
The world seemed made, for her and me,
All bright wherever we might turn,
Our life to be a tranquil sea —
Sweet innocents! we 'd much to learn.
For soon did Care's disturbing breath
Its baleful influence impart,
And bitter sorrow, born of death,
O'ercast the sunshine of our heart;
But still, as trouble round us rose,
Each closer, fonder, clung to each,
Blessed with the strength of love's repose,
Enduring all that grief could teach.
We 'd much of joy, though small our sphere,
And craved no more extended fame,
For children made our dwelling dear, —
'T was wonderful how fast they came! —
“The more the merrier,” we said,
And in them every wish was blest;


Page 35
A part in our embrace have staid,
A mound at Woodlawn tells the rest.
Those twenty years have left their trace
Upon her brow, then smooth and fair,
And stolen, some say, the witching grace
That once her features used to wear;
But still I see the same kind eyes
Beam on me with a light as true
As when, in love's young paradise,
I first their inspiration knew.
And I — well, well — we 'll let that pass; —
None more than I time's changes see,
Each day I shave myself, — alas!
My mirror does not flatter me;
But if I 'm changed for worst or best
I cannot answer, on my life,
And leave the solving of this test
To such as choose to ask my wife.
This lesson we have fully learned:
Pure happiness that men have deemed
Is but a hope soon overturned,
A vision but in fancy dreamed;
That all of happiness below,
Pursuing which the life is spent
In mingled scenes of bliss and woe,
Is measured by the word CONTENT.
Though fortune may withhold its smile,
As it has done in time before,
Content shall still our way beguile,
And rest the future landscape o'er.
The future! — who its tale may tell? —
But for it we 've nor doubts nor fears,
And like our life that 's past so well,
We 'll try another twenty years.
Aug. 15th. 1858.