Farewell, farewell! this changeful earth
Hath nought of joy, of love, or mirth
In store for thee; thy visions gay
Have all like shadows passed away!
But yesterday! and hand in hand
We wandered thro' the self same land;
And deemed the journey of this life
Would be unvexed by crazing strife,
And from those trying scenes apart
That over-cloud the human heart.
Life was all joy; we heard that tears
Oft stained the shrine of riper years;
That sorrow and misfortune trace
Deep furrows over manhood's face;
That many were the griefs that strew
Trouble and death where'er men go;
That Pomp grows weary of his pride;
Beauty soon lays her crown aside;
And Pleasure's golden chalice bears
With sweetness many bitter cares.
These were strange words. We could not deem
That ours was but an idle dream,
And that the distant Fairy-Land,
So green and bright on ev'ry hand,
Was but a bleak and desert place
Where Pleasure would long mock the chase.
Alas! the dream is past--and cold,
And quiet in earth's silent mould
The youthful Dreamer sleeps; the tomb
Hath wrapt him in its ghastly gloom!
The heart that was so kind is still;
The hand that never had done ill
To living thing, is nerveless now
And powerless--and cold the brow,
And pale the cheek, and dim the eye,
Of him we loved so tenderly!
Aye! those were merry days, when we
Lay down beside the greenwood tree,
And watched the silken line and hook
Float idly down the water-brook,
And gaily drew the speckled prey
From the dim hollows where they lay;
Or from some sunny slope, looked down
On winding stream, and dingle brown,
And purple bay--all hush'd and still!
While silence slept upon the hill:
The brook, the river, still flow on,
While thou, the fairest--thou art gone--
The tangled woods as greenly wave,
And thou art slumbering in thy grave!
Oh! it is hard to die!--to feel
The death-chill o'er the features steal,
While hope and vigour, day by day,
Weaken and fail and pass away,
And the breath trembleth from the frame
As from the hearth-stone fails the flame--
But oh! how fearful to be hurled,
Unwarned, into an untried world,
And die, as thou, loved one, did'st die,
And pass into Eternity!
* * *
I stood beside thy dust;--and there
Sadly uprose the solemn prayer,
Friends thought of all thou wast--the sweet
And innocent youth, whose feet
Ne'er wandered from the path of good,
Whose heart by sin was unsubdued.
Thou was an only son--most kind
In heart, and pure and firm in mind--
Simplest in guile--yet first of all
To win true Learning's coronal.
Though many a year shall pass, thy name
Shall waken in our hearts the same
Fond memories.--Oh who so mild,
So cherished, and so undefiled!