Page images

So truly, wholly thine, As that which at thy feet is aching, As if its very strings were breaking!

“I would not see thee glad, my love!
As erst, in happier years;
Yet do not seem so sad, my love!
Because of Helen's fears!
Swiftly the flying minutes move,
And though we weep to-day, my love,
Heavy and bitter tears,
There’ll be, for every tear that strays,
A thousand smiles in other days!”


“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.”—Byron.

SoFNE of my best and brightest years!
Scene of my childhood’s joys and fears!
Again f gaze on thee at last :
And dreams of the forgotten past,
Tobed in the visionary hues
That Memory flings on all she views,
Come fleeting o'er me !—I could look
Unwearied on this babbling brook,
And lie beneath this aged oak,
And listen to its raven’s croak,
And bound upon my native plain,_
Till Fancy made me Boy again
I could forget the pain and strife
Of manhood’s dark, deceitful life;
I could forget the ceaseless toil,
The hum of cities, and the coil
That Interest flings upon our hearts,
As Candour'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 gayly 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 : Eriends 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, Ilike magic shades on haunted ground.

Hark! as they murmur down the dell, A lingering tale those voices tell; And while they flit in vacant air,

A beauteous smile those faces wear.
Alas! I turn my dreaming eyes,
The lovely vision fades and flies;
The tale is done—
The smile is gone—
I am a stranger, -and alone.

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, And said, “I ought to learn to spell;”

And then she talked of sound and sense;
Of verbs and adverbs, mood and tense;
And then she would with care disclose
The treasured Primer’s lettered rows—
Whereat my froward rage spoke out,
In cry and passion, frown and pout,
And with a sad and loathing look,
I shrank from that enchanted book.

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 1 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 meat abode, withdrawn
From strangers by its humble lawn,
Which the neat shrubbery enshrouds
From scrutiny of passing crowds,
The Pastor of the Village dwelt:
To him with clasping hands I knelt,
When first he taught my lips to pray,

« PreviousContinue »