Why givest thou this vision blurred,
That clarity should not be present?
Does wisdom come with years of life?
Does age assuage the lusts and strife?
Does knowledge come with sweet respite,
Or keep the mind on lofty heights?
Does lust bind up the youth fore’er
And still the pride beyond our years?
Does glory follow every head?
Does wisdom crown the hoary hair?
‘Tis true if found in righteousness;
‘Tis true of those in godliness.
Show me the men who love God still,
Whose hairs are white adorned with time,
Whose mouth is stayed from ill-replies
Whose age bespeaks their true and wise.
Render now the honor due them.
Keep their words and heed their counsel.
That youths may yet learn wisdom’s voice,
To turn aside a prideful choice.
Mock not now the words of ancients,
Grave in life and pure in virtue.
May their lives shame thee to flee from
The way that wickedness becomes.
But what of those who speak averse?
Or those who sit upon their lees?
Their age is but a cloak for shame,
Proclaiming that their life is vain.
And living still the youthful life,
Consumed with lusts never restrained.
Pretending that age guarantees
A life from youthful folly free.