Old and New

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by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Long have the poets vaunted, in their lays,
Old times, old loves, old friendship, and old wine.
Why should the old monopolize all praise?
Then let the new claim mine.

Give me strong new friends when the old prove weak
Or fail me in my darkest hour of need;
Why perish with the ship that springs a leak
Or lean upon a reed?

Give me new love, warm, palpitating, sweet,
When all the grace and beauty leave the old;
When like a rose it withers at my feet,
Or like a hearth grows cold.

Give me new times, bright with a prosperous cheer,
In place of old, tear-blotted, burdened days;
I hold a sunlit present far more dear,
And worthy of my praise.

When the old deeds are threadbare and worn through,
And all too narrow for the broadening soul,
Give me the fine, firm texture of the new,
Fair, beautiful, and whole!

from Poems of Passion by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1883)

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