The above quote is from the poem “Maud Miller,” which you’ll find right here.
It has even more impact when you add the previous two stanzas, even if you’ve never read this poem before:
“God pity them both! and pity us all,
Who vainly the dreams of youth recall;
For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these: “It might have been!”
Oh yes, there’s a tale here in this poem, one which I won’t spoil for you if you have yet to be introduced to it.
The only thing I disagree with (sorry, purists) is the emphasis on “dreams of youth.” Dreams don’t stop just because you turn over a new calendar number. (Unless you’re bound and determined that your life is over at an arbitrary age, in which case you’re probably busy wrapping things up.)
I’ve found myself away from poetry for several years now. I used to read it all the time.
But a friend had posted that above image, and I must have read it at exactly the right time, for reading this poem in full makes me think I need to come back this-a-way toward poetry again.
Which quotes stick in your head?