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The Scots Week-End
Proem


 THE SUM OF WISDOM

Sweet is the light of life, and pleasant is it for the eyes to see the sun. If a man live many years, let him have joy throughout them all; let him remember that the dark days will be many. All that comes after death is emptiness.

So rejoice in your youth, young man,
be blithe in the flower of your age;
follow your heart's desire
and all that attracts you.
Banish all worries from your mind,
and keep your body free from pain
(for youth and manhood will not last)
ere evil days come on,
and years approach when you shall say,
"I have no joy in them";
ere the sun grows dark,
and the light goes from moon and stars,
and the clouds gather after rain;
when the guards tremble in the house of Life,
when its upholders bow,
when the maids that grind are few and fail,
and ladies at the lattice lose their lustre,
when the doors to the street are shut,
and the sound of the mill runs low,
when the twitter of birds is faint,
and dull the daughters of song,
when old age fears a height,
and even a walk has its terrors,
when his hair is almond white,
and he drags his limbs along,
and the spirit flags and fades.
So man goes to his long, long home,
and mourners pass along the street,
on the day when the silver cord is snapped,
and the golden lamp drops broken,
when the pitcher breaks at the fountain,
the wheel breaks at the cistern,
when the dust returns to earth once more,
and the spirit to God who gave it.

Ecclesiastes (Dr. Moffatt's Version)


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