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The Old Professor

Author of work:
Dora Sigerson Shorter
See, there he goes, a-pulling his long beard;With frowning brow, and far and absent gaze,On his bowed head the dust of time's grey years,And on his parchment cheek life's score of days.He doth not hear the lark in worship swingUp God's blue stairs the incense of his song;Nor sees the daffodil that like a bellOn some tall spire sways in a faint ding-dong.Who hath his heart enchanted? Who his soul?Since by his side his mate forgotten goes,She once so fair now chilled by autumn's breath,And on her cheek the last pale summer rose.Oh! see, that wistful lamp within her eyes,That beacon flame that once so bright did burn,Now frail, now dim, yet faithful still it shines,In hope some day the traveller shall return.Beside him walks the one child of his home,Half leaning to the world that calls her fair,Half yielding to his arm. Her young shy eyesAsk what hath love to offer for her share?
He hath not seen this tender bud unfoldFrom baby beauty to this perfect bloom,But ever went through all her lovely yearsWith absent eyes and brow of frowning gloom.He had not paused through all her childish daysTo fold that laughing spirit to his heart.Who charmed him thus? what witch or wizard heldThose living hours from all his world apart?See, there he goes a-pulling his long beard.Poor, stricken thing, cursed by some fairy spell,To shrink from love and laughter, bird and flower,Within the shadowy past to brood and dwell.There like some moth to feed upon the shroudOf fair Egyptian queen, or from the scrollOf ancient writ to creep like some poor worm.He hath forgot he hath a human soul.See, there he stays by yonder ruined church,The sunshine of the spring on his grey head;How keen his gaze, how quick his eager smile;He finds his pleasures mid forgotten dead.And there his mate, all patient by the wall,Sees his rare joy, and smiling is content.And there his child, with eyes in wonder raised,Seeks the high lark in God's clear element.

About the author

Dora Sigerson Shorter photo
Dora Sigerson Shorter
288 works

About the poet

Dora Sigerson (1866–1918) was an Irish poet, who after her marriage in 1895 wrote under the name Dora Sigerson Shorter. She was born in Dublin, Ireland, the daughter of George Sigerson, a surgeon and writer, and Hester (née Varian) also a writer. She was a major figure of the Irish Literary revival, publishing many collections of poetry from 1893. Her friends included Katharine Tynan, a noted Irish-born poet and author.

Her husband was Clement King Shorter, an English journalist and literary critic. They lived together in London, until her death.

and writer, and Hester (née Varian) also a writer. She was a major figure of the Irish Literary rev
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