My CHILDHOOD'S HOME I see again,
And sadden with the view;
And still, as memory crowds my brain,
There's pleasure in it, too.
O memory! thou midway world
'Twixt earth and paradise,
Where things decayed and loved ones lost
In dreamy shadows rise,
And, freed from all that's earthly, vile,
Seem hallowed, pure and bright,
Like scenes in some enchanted isle
All bathed in liquid light.
As dusky mountains please the eye
When twilight chases day;
As bugle notes that, passing by,
In distance die away;
As, leaving some grand waterfall,
We, lingering, list its roar-
So memory will hallow all
We've known but know no more.
Near twenty years have passed away
Since here I bid farewell
To woods and fields, and scenes of play,
And playmates loved so well.
Where many were, but few remain
Of old familiar things,
But seeing them to mind again
The lost and absent brings.
The friends I left that parting day,
How changed, as time has sped!
Young childhood grown, strong manhood gray;
And half of all are dead.
I hear the loved survivors tell
How nought from death could save,
Till every sound appears a knell
And every spot a grave.
I range the fields with pensive tread,
And pace the hollow rooms,
And feel (companion of the dead)
I'm living in the tombs.
(When thirty-seven years old.)
The Optimist fell ten stories.
At each window bar
He shouted to his friends:
"All right so far."
Nothing to do but work,
Nothing to eat but food;
Nothing to wear but clothes
To keep one from going nude.
Nothing to breathe but air,
Quick as a flash 'tis gone;
Nowhere to fall but off,
Nowhere to stand but on.
Nothing to comb but hair,
Nowhere to sleep but in bed;
Nothing to weep but tears,
Nothing to bury but dead.
Nothing to sing but songs;
Ah, well, alas! alack!
Nowhere to go but out,
Nowhere to come but back.
Nothing to see but sights,
Nothing to quench but thirst;
Nothing to have but what we've got;
Thus thro' life we are cursed.
Nothing to strike but a gait;
Everything moves that goes.
Nothing at all but common sense
Can ever withstand these woes.
And now the work of life and death
Hung on the passing of a breath;
The fire of conflict burned within;
The battle trembled to begin;
Yet, while the Austrians held their ground,
Point for attack was nowhere found;
Where're the impatient Switzers gazed,
The unbroken line of lances blazed;
That line 't were suicide meet,
And perish at their tyrants' feet;
How could they rest within their graves,
And leave their homes the homes of slaves?
Would they not feel their children tread
With clanking chains above their head?