January 3, 2013

Hubner: Beyond the grave I'll live again!

Though he was one of many dubbed "poet laureate of the South," Charles W. Hubner was more of a scholar of American writing than a creator of original poetry. Before his death in Atlanta on January 3, 1929, he had collected several anthologies of poetry and prose, particularly ones which focused on writers from the Southern states. Still, he did write several poems himself, including ones dedicated to the poets he studied, including Sidney Lanier, Edgar Allan Poe, and Henry Timrod. The Maryland-born Hubner was 94 years old when he died but, more than twenty years earlier, he already recognized he was aging, as represented in his poem "Growing Old":

I'm growing old, and yet no fear
    Of death or grave appals me;
Still, as in days of youth, the dear
    Sweet love of life enthrals me;
And still my spirit gladly hears
The music of the flying years.

I'm growing old; my hands, my limbs
    Less supple are, less light;
And sometimes a strange mist bedims—
    By tears begot—my sight,
But still with steady steps my soul
Fares bravely on toward her goal.

I'm growing old; Life's tree has shed
    Its blossoms long ago;
The winds that blow about my head
    Are chill with sleet and snow,
Yet they, in some mysterious way,
Still bring the violet scent of May.

I'm growing old; alas! so far
    My youth behind me lies,
It seems to be a phantom-star
    In dream-imagined skies,
And yet one touch of Memory's wand
Transports me to youth's fairy-land.

I'm growing old—how swiftly flies
    Time's shuttle through the loom!
Weaving before my very eyes
    My garment for the tomb;
Yet fear I not, nor feel I pain,
Beyond the grave I'll live again!

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