US poet (1807 - 1882)
The shades of night were falling fast,As though an Alpine village passedA youth, who bore, 'mid snow and ice,A banner with the strange device,ExcelsiorHis brow was sad his eye beneath,Flashed like a falchion from its sheath,And like a silver clarion rungThe accents of that unknown tongue,Excelsior
Tell me not, in mournful numbers,Life is but an empty dreamFor the soul is dead that slumbers,and things are not what they seem.Life is real Life is earnestAnd the grave is not its goalDust thou art to dust returnest,Was not spoken of the soul.
To be seventy years old is like climbing the Alps. You reach a snow-crowned summit, and see behind you the deep valley stretching miles and miles away, and before you other summits higher and whiter, which you may have strength to climb, or may not. Then you sit down and meditate and wonder which it will be.