Fourteen sonnets and poems/A Reflection

Then old age and experience, hand in hand,
Lead him to death and make him understand,
After a search so painful and so long,
That all his life he had been in the wrong.

A Reflection

HAD I but known, now pausing at threescore,
That that which most I sought when life began,
Was readier to be found and held, far more,
Than what I then for it mistook and after ran;
Had taken half for true the elders said,
And marked the union of my own heart
With that high speech, as well as what I read
Of the deep lessons Nature did impart;
Had I but trusted to that silent voice
That we, for want of better, conscience call,
Which by us stands in every hour of choice,
Answering the how, the why, the truth, the all,—
Then had my life gone on expanding in its course,
Like some calm, deepening river, widening from its source.