Longfellow on Age:
Longfellow was revered in his life and after. It is hard to imagine him only 12 years older than Walt Whitman. His mythic tones, classical allusions and measured rhythms were a long way from Walt Whitman's "body electric."
This is from his "Morituri Salutamus: Poem for the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Class of 1825 in Bowdoin College," written in Longfellow's last decade and delivered to his alma mater, as Ulysses to his boatmen:
What then? Shall we sit idly down and say
The night hath come; it is no longer day?
The night hath not yet come; we are not quite
Cut off from labor by the failing light;
Something remains for us to do or dare;
Even the oldest tree some fruit may bear;
Not Oedipus Coloneus, or Greek Ode,
Or tales of pilgrims that one morning rode
Out of the gateway of the Tabard Inn,
But other something, would we but begin;
For age is opportunity no less
Than youth itself, though in another dress,
And as the evening twilight fades away
The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.