It is too late! Ah, nothing is too late
Till the tired heart shall cease to palpitate. . .
Chaucer, at Woodstock with the nightingales,
At sixty wrote Canterbury Tales;
Goethe at Weimar, toiling to to the last,
Completed Faust when eighty years were past. . .
What then? Shall we sit idly down and say
The night hath come; it is no longer day? . . .
Something remains for us to do or dare;
Even the oldest tree some fruit may bear; . . .
For age is opportunity no less
Than youth itself, though in another dress,
And as the evening twilight fades away
The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.
Goethe at Weimar, toiling to the last,
Completed Faust when eighty years were past,
These are indeed exceptions; but they show
How far the gulf-stream of our youth may flow
Into the arctic regions of our lives.
Where little else than life itself survives.
. . .
To be seventy years old is like climbing the Alps. You reach a snow-crowned summit, and see behind you the deep valley stretching miles and miles away, and before you other summits higher and whiter, which you may have strength to climb, or may not. Then you sit down and meditate and wonder which it will be.