The Morning Hills


HE sits among the morning hills,
His face is bright, and strong;
He scans far heights, but scarcely notes
The herdsman’s idle song.
He cannot brook this peaceful life,
While battle’s trumpet calls;
He sees a crown for him who wins,
A tear for him who falls.
The flowery glens and shady slopes
Are hateful to his eyes;
Beyond the heights, beyond the storms,
The land of promise lies.


He is so old and sits so still,
With face so weak and mild,
We know that he remembers naught,
Save when he was a child.
His fight is fought, his fame is won,
Life’s highest peak is past,
The laurel crown, the triumph’s arch,
Are worthless at the last.
The frosts of age destroy the bay, —
The loud applause of men
Falls feebly on the palsied ears
Of fourscore years and ten.
He does not hear the voice that bears
His name around the world;
He has no thought of great deeds done
Where battle-tempests whirled.

But evermore he is looking back,
Whilst memory fills and thrills
With echoes of the herdman’s song,
Among the morning hills.

Maurice Thompson.