Page images
PDF
EPUB

OLD TIMES.

Scenes of the good old time—the past! How fast ye lighten on mine eye; As twilight stars come out at last To one who gazes on the sky. Touch but the light and secret spring That guards those treasures of the soul, And back, like breezes on the wing, The earliest years of memory roll; They sweep the spirit's inmost chords, Perhaps for weary years unstrung, They wake the thoughts too deep for tears, That make the sad and aged young. And thus life's best and brightest hours, When spring her sweetest smile restores, When summer's gaýest wealth of flowers Is sprinkled on her emerald floors, When night most radiantly descends, And nature's purest incense burns, While the small floweret meekly bends With dew-drops in its golden urns;

All, all the hours of past delight
Upon the memory flow,
And cheer me with the welcome sight,
Of long-long years ago.

In youth's serene and holy hour,
Our barks lay sleeping in the bay;
We dream'd what joy it is to tower
Along our free and glorious way.
The morning sunbeam gilt the waves,
The breath of heaven was pure and warm,
We thought not of the weltering graves,
Nor fear'd the slumbers of the storm;
But soon we met the angry gale,
And slow and sad was our return,
With trembling mast and shatter'd sail-
We saw the homeward beacon burn;
And then what rapture fill'd the breast,
Within the harbour's shelter'd plain,
To fold the weary limbs to rest,
And never leave its bounds again.
But still a backward glance we cast,
Though all is alter'd now;
Though sorrow o'er the soul hath pass'd,
And years are on the brow.

Oft as the waves of life grow calm,
Our hearts return to former years,

And ponder o'er their fleeting charm,
With smiles that tremble into tears.
For never can that charm forsake
The hearts that once its image bear;
Though worn and wasted till they break,
The early passion still is there!
No wonder—for a strange delight
In youth was found in every scene,
And all came alter'd to the sight
Through fancy's magic glass between.
The lonely hill; the shining glade
That sloped to meet the whispering streams;
The solemn wood, whose cavern'd shade
Was peopled with romantic dreams;
The fearful hour of night's midnoon,
When howling storms are passing by;
The brightness of the harvest moon,
And autumn's deep and dreary sigh;
The friends, whose bosoms, warm and true,
Were bright reflections of our own,
Now, dwindled to a mournful few,
Each wandering to the grave alone;.
Return sometimes in all their power
Of pleasure and of pain;
The shadows of that radiant hour
That never comes again.

The new year's day! how clear and bright It used to draw upon our eye!

Soon as the earliest gleam of light
Was blushing in the eastern sky,
Forth from repose we gaily sprang
To shout into the sleeper's ear;
And all the merry mansion rang
With wishes of a glad new year.
His gift the aged servant took
With gladness in his faded eye;
The teacher smooth'd his weekday look
And laid his birchen sceptre by ;
The old unbent their brow the while
To join in childhood's play;
And all things wore their brightest smile
Upon the new year's day.

The Christmas fire! I seem to gaze
Upon its deep and radiant red !
And round the trumpet sounding blaze
I see the evening circle spread.
Though storms are rushing through the heaven,
They cannot chill the joyous flow
Of young affections warmly given
To hearts that answer all their glow.
But soon the voice of mirth subsides;
They talk of darkness and its powers,
Of some mysterious form that glides
In silence through the haunted towers.
And thus with many a fearful tale
They while away the night,

Till every youthful cheek grows pale, With terror and delight.

Scenes of the good old time—the past,
How bless'd the feelings ye inspire !
Around the dreary heart ye cast
The radiance of a winter fire.
I know the coming years will bring
New scenes and sorrows as they roll,
And each will scatter from its wing
A deeper sadness o'er the soul.
But though the present, cold and stern,
May fill the weary eye with tears,
This never failing fire shall burn,
And light us down the steep of years,
Till life's dark path is travel'd through,
And other scenes begin,
More pure and fervent, warm and true,
Than all that once have been.

« PreviousContinue »