For all the long years I’ve been wandering away—
To see thus around me my youth’s early friends,
As smiling and kind as in that happy day?
Tho’ haply o’er some of your brows, as o’er mine,
The snow-fall of time may be stealing—what then?
Like Alps in the sunset, thus lighted by wine,
We’ll wear the gay tinge of youth’s roses again.
What softened remembrances come o’er the heart,
In gazing on those we’ve been lost to so long!
The sorrows, the joys, of which once they were part,
Still round them, like visions of yesterday, throng,
As letters some hand hath invisibly traced,
When held to the flame will steal out on the sight,
So many a feeling, that long seemed effaced,
The warmth of a moment like this brings to light.
And thus, as in memory’s bark we shall glide,
To visit the scenes of our boyhood anew,
Tho’ oft we may see, looking down on the tide,
The wreck of full many a hope shining thro';
Yet still, as in fancy we point to the flowers,
That once made a garden of all the gay shore,
Deceived for a moment, we’ll think them still ours,
And breathe the fresh air of life’s morning once more.
So brief our existence, a glimpse, at the most,
Is all we can have of the few we hold dear;
And oft even joy is unheeded and lost,
For want of some heart, that could echo it, near.
Ah, well may we hope, when this short life is gone,
To meet in some world of more permanent bliss,
For a smile, or a grasp of the hand, hastening on,
Is all we enjoy of each other in this.
But, come, the more rare such delights to the heart,
The more we should welcome and bless them the more;
They’re ours, when we meet,—they are lost when we part,
Like birds that bring summer, and fly when ’tis o’er.
Thus circling the cup, hand in hand, ere we drink,
Let Sympathy pledge us, thro’ pleasure, thro’ pain,
That, fast as a feeling but touches one link,
Her magic shall send it direct thro’ the chain.