The Middle Time is now upon me,
And the tune to which I dance is somewhat thin;
A ghost remembrance of that cacaphonous din
To which my steps were measured in my youth.
I know there lies now less before
Than all those days that lay within
The sepulchure of careless memory passed,
And I apprehend the sometime bitter truth
That evil days approach my door
When much of what I've come to love will bid its leave
And I be forced to gaze aghast
At sights my eyes would fain not see,
When I to faithful hope must cleave.
And yet, what better time than this, the high point of the feast?
That Jester, Youth, has left the table
Leaving us the better able
To speak of things which more befit the greyed brow,
Matters weighty and sublime
Which better suit our natures now, though perhaps in tone more sable
Than such issues as delight the Fool,
And content the simpleminded sow -
Let us worthily pass the time
To Banquet's End, in company merry and refined,
Reviewing all we gained in Life's long school -
Establish what we value most and least,
Then say we fed our souls while yet we dined.
O grieve not that thy step be not so quick nor light
As was it's wont to be in bygone days,
Nor pine for carefree, childish ways -
They had their time, and sweet they were,
But now thou hast a surer, measured step
And the nobler thought is the one which stays,
And Youth for all its joyful folly
Is not a state forever to prefer
To a mind and manner better kept
From fancies and seductions strange;
Who but a Fool would be forever jolly
And deny his Midlife's further sight,
It's deeper view, it's wider range?