A Letter To A Friend by James Whitcomb Riley

The past is like a story
I have listened to in dreams
That vanished in the glory
Of the Morning’s early gleams;
And–at my shadow glancing–
I feel a loss of strength,
As the Day of Life advancing
Leaves it shorn of half its length.

But it’s all in vain to worry
At the rapid race of Time–
And he flies in such a flurry
When I trip him with a rhyme,
I’ll bother him no longer
Than to thank you for the thought
That “my fame is growing stronger
As you really think it ought.”

And though I fall below it,
I might know as much of mirth
To live and die a poet
Of unacknowledged worth;
For Fame is but a vagrant–
Though a loyal one and brave,
And his laurels ne’er so fragrant
As when scattered o’er the grave.

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