The printed word, in well-kept books,
An agèd man today I love
Them, shelved within their nooks.
My lamentations of today
Are not the same a youth might have,
But rather, as time fleets away,
To hoard them I would crave.
In ill health, both in art and love
A failure, from them I receive
A solace that is good enough
If not quite a reprieve.
How I should like to fade away,
To be, like ink upon the page
Ethereal symbol—held at bay
The sufferings of age.
Let these be my companions: you,
Sweet creature of an hour, betrayed
The sunny hopes I harbored, too
Bright for books’ fictive shade.
The wisdom I would glean! O, let
Me live awhile, to read these lines
That do not help me to forget
But fix in cloudy signs.