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REMINISCENCES OF MY YOUTH.
“There's not a joy the world can give, like that it takes
away, When the glow of early thought declines in feeling's dull decay."
SCENE of my best and brightest years !
Till Fancy made me Boy again !
That Interest flings upon our hearts, As Candor’s faded glow departs; I could forget whatever care It has been mine to see or share, And be as playful and as wild As when—a dear and wayward child I dwelt upon this fairy spot, All reckless of a bitterer lot. Then Glee was high, and on my tongue The happy laugh of Folly hung, And Innocence looked bright on Youth, And all was bliss, and all was truth.
There is no change upon the scene, My native plain is gaily green, Yon oak still braves the wintry air, The raven is not silent there; Beneath my foot the simple rill Flows on in noisy wildness still. Nature hath suffered no decay; Her lordly children ! where are they? Friends of my pure and sinless age, The good, the jocund, and the sage; Gone is the light your kindness shed, In silence have ye changed or fled; Ye and your dwellings !—yet I hear Your well-known voices in mine ear, And see your faces beaming round, Like magic shades on haunted ground.
Hark! as they murmur down the dell,
The tale is done,
The smile is gone-
Within yon humble cottage, where The fragrant woodbine scents the air, And the neat door looks fair to view, Seen through its leafy avenue, The matron of the Village School Maintained her ancient state and rule. The dame was rigid and severe, With much to love, but more to fear; She was my nurse in infancy; And as I sat upon her knee, And listened to her stories, told In dialect of Doric mould, While wonders still on wonders grew, I marvelled if the tale were true; And all she said of valorous knight, And beauteous dame, and love, and fight, Enchanter fierce, and goblin sly, My childhood heard right greedily. At last the wand of magic broke, The tale was ended; and she spoke
Of learning's everlasting well,
Oh! sweet were those untutored years, Their joys and pains, their hopes and fears ; There was a freshness in them all Which we may taste, but not recall. No! man must never more enjoy The thoughts, the passions of the boy, The aspirations high and bold, Unseen, unguided, uncontrolled; The first ambition, and the pride That youthful bosoms feel and hide ; The longings after manhood's sun, Which end in clouds—as mine have done
In yonder neat abode, withdrawn
When first he taught my lips to pray, My steps to walk in virtue's way, My heart to honor and to love The God that ruleth from above. He was a man of sorrows;—Care Was seated on his hoary hair ; His cheek was colorless; his brow Was furrowed o'er, as mine is now; His earliest youth had fled in tears, And grief was on his closing years. But still he met, with soul resigned, The day of mourning; and his mind, Beneath its load of woe and pain, Might deeply feel, but not complain ; And Virtue o'er his forehead's snows Had thrown an air of meek repose, More lovely than the hues that streak The bloom of childhood's laughing cheek; It seemed to tell the holy rest That will not leave the righteous breast, The trust in One that died to save, The hope that looks beyond the grave, The calm of unpretending worth, The bliss that is not of the earth. And he would smile; but in his smile Sadness would seem to lurk the while : Child as I was, I could not bear To look upon that placid air ; I felt the tear-drop in mine eye, And wished to weep, and knew not why.