Page images
PDF
EPUB

A RETROSPECTIVE REVIEW.

Oh, when I was a tiny boy
My days and nights were full of joy,

My mates were blithe and kind! —
No wonder that I sometimes sigh,
And dash the tear-drop from my eye,

To cast a look behind !

A hoop was an eternal round
Of pleasure. In those days I found

A top a joyous thing ;-
But now those past delights I drop,
My head, alas ! is all my top,

And careful thoughts the string !

My marbles—once my bag was stor’d-
Now I must play with Elgin's lord,

With Theseus foi a taw!
My playful horse has slipt his string,
Forgotten all his capering,

And harness'd to the law !

My kite—how fast and far it flew !
Whilst I, a sort of Franklin, drew

My pleasure from the sky!
'Twas paperd o'er with studious themes,
The tasks I wrote-my present dreams

Will never soar so high!

My joys are wingless all and dead;
My dumps are made of more than lead;

My flights soon find a fall;
My fears prevail, my fancies droop,
Joy never cometh with a hoop,

And seldom with a call !

My football's laid upon the shelf;
I am a shuttlecock myself

The world knocks to and fro;-
My archery is all unlearn'd,
And grief against myself has turn'd

My arrows and my bow!

No more in noontide sun I bask;
My authorship 's an endless task,

My head 's ne'er out of school :
My heart is pain’d with scorn and slight,
I have too many foes to fight,

And friends grown strangely cool !

The

very chum that shared my cake Holds out so cold a hand to shake,

It makes me shrink and sigh On this I will not dwell and hang, The changeling would not feel a pang

Though these should meet his eye!

No skies so blue or so serene
As then ;—no leaves look half so green

As cloth'd the play-ground tree!
All things I lov'd are alter'd so,
Nor does it ease my heart to know

That change resides in me!

O, for the garb that mark'd the boy,
The trousers made of corduroy,

Well inkd with black and red;
The crownless hat, ne'er deem'd an ill-
It only let the sunshine still

Repose upon my head!

O, for the riband round the neck !
The careless dog's-ears apt to deck

My book and collar both!
How can this formal man be styled
Merely an Alexandrine child,

A boy of larger growth ?

O for that small, small beer anew!
And (heaven's own type) that mild sky-blue

That wash'd my sweet meals down; The master even !—and that small Turk That fagg’d me!-worse is work

A fag for all the town!

now my

O for the lessons learn’d by heart!
Ay, though the very birch's smart

Should mark those hours again ;
I'd "kiss the rod," and be resign'd
Beneath the stroke, and even find
Some
sugar

in the cane!

The Arabian Nights rehears’d in bed !
The Fairy Tales in school-time read,

By stealth, 'twixt verb and noun !
The angel form that always walk'd
In all my dreams, and look'd and talk'd

Exactly like Miss Brown!

The omne bene-Christmas come!
The prize of merit, won for home-

Merit had prizes then!
But now I write for days and days,
For fame—a deal of empty praise,

Without the silver pen!

Then home, sweet home! the crowded coach-
The joyous shout—the loud appproach-

The winding horns like rams'!
The meeting sweet that made me thrill,
The sweetmeats almost sweeter still,

No satis ’ to the . jams!'

When that I was a tiny boy,
My days and nights were full of joy,

My mates were, blithe and kind !
No wonder that I sometimes sigh,
And dash the tear-drop from my eye,

To cast a look behind !

THE DEPARTURE OF SUMMER.

SUMMER is gone on swallows' wings,
And Earth has buried all her flowers :
No more the lark, the linnet sings,
But Silence sits in faded bowers.
There is a shadow on the plain
Of Winter ere he comes again,-
There is in woods a solemn sound
Of hollow warnings whisper'd round,
As Echo in her deep recess
For once had turn’d a prophetess.
Shuddering Autumn stops to list,
And breathes his fear in sudden sighs,
With clouded face, and hazel eyes
That quench themselves, and hide in mist.

Yes, Summer 's gone like pageant bright;
Its glorious days of golden light
Are gone—the mimic suns that quiver,
Then melt in Time's dark-flowing river.
Gone the sweetly-scented breeze
That spoke in music to the trees ;
Gone for damp and chilly breath,
As if fresh blown o'er marble seas,
Or newly from the lungs of Death.-

« PreviousContinue »