The Secret Key and Other Verses

The Grey Road

George Essex Evans

A SUN-FLASH on his mounting wing,
    A wild note soaring high—
The lark is up, the minstrel king,
    The poet of the sky.
To thrill, to sing of Youth and Spring
    Those golden numbers flowed.
            What message then
            Has he for men
    Who tread the long grey road?

Knee-deep in grass the cattle stand,
    The river winds along,
And chants through sunny meadow land
    A low mysterious song.
Ah! sunlit vale and lover’s tale
    Youth’s day is quickly gone—
            Past current-beat
            And meadow-sweet
    The grey road stretches on!

Grim bastions frowning down below—
    And rising, tier on tier,
Sublime, and crowned with ageless snow
    The awful peaks appear.
The heights belong unto the strong
    Who scale, by crags untried,
            The great cliffs face—
            But at its base
    The grey road turns aside!

No hope in Heaven, no minstrel strain,
    No vales where summer shone
A leaden sky, a silent plain,
    The grey road stretching on.
O Christ, who trod the thorny path,
    And bore the bitter load,
            Have mercy then
            On weary men
    Who tread the long grey road!

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