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decorative star graphic  Late Adulthood:
Cognitive Development
- Poem -

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Excerpt from Birds of Passage

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

But why, you ask me, should this tale be told?

To men grown old, or who are growing old?

It is too late! Ah, nothing is too late

Till the tired heart shall cease to palpitate.

Cato learned Greek at eighty; Sophocles

Wrote his grand Oedipus, and Simonides

Bore off the prize of verse from his compeers,

When each had numbered more than fourscore years,

And Theophrastus, at fourscore and ten,

Had but begun his Characters of Men.

Chaucer, at Woodstock with the nightingales,

At sixty wrote the Canterbury Tales;

Goethe at Weimar, toiling to the last,

Completed Faust when eighty years were past.

These are indeed exceptions; but they show

How far the gulf-stream of our youth may flow

Into the arctic regions of our lives.

Where little else than life itself survives.


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.

Growth & Development
Robert C. Gates
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