When we for Age could neither read nor write,
The Subject made us able to indite.
The Soul, with Nobler Resolutions deckt,
The Body stooping, does Herself erect:
No Mortal Parts are requisite to raise
Her, that Unbody’d can her Maker praise.
The Seas are quiet, when the Winds give o’er;
So calm are we, when Passions are no more:
For then we know how vain it was to boast
Of fleeting Things, so certain to be lost.
Clouds of Affection from our younger Eyes
Conceal that emptiness, which Age descries.
The Soul’s dark Cottage, batter’d and decay’d,
Lets in new Light through chinks that time has made.
Stronger by weakness, wiser Men become
As they draw near to their Eternal home:
Leaving the Old, both Worlds at once they view,
That stand upon the Threshold of the New.
Edmund Waller (1606 – 1687) was an English poet and politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1624 and 1679.