In the bright sunny days of halcyon youth,
When life is happiness, and love is truth;
When, like the first fair flowerets of the year,
Affections bud and blossom--Oh! how dear
To the young exiles from their happy home,
(Be that the rural cot, or lordly dome,)
Is the page, traced by some beloved hand,
With tidings fraught, perchance, from some far land.
The welcome missive, with a joyous smile,
Is greeted, kiss'd, perused;--and oft, the while,
Soft exclamations of delight are heard.
It tells of all so loved;--the favourite bird--
How, in its gilded prison, still it sings:
How the geranium blows--the myrtle springs:
How the pet squirrel gambols. It describes
How some loved cherub brother, won by bribes
Of glittering play-things, first essays to walk,
And of his absent sisters learns to talk.
And oh! in after hours--life's hey-day past,
And early feelings fled--when Time has cast
His cold, dark shadow round--"Letters from home"
Have still their magic; witness ye, who roam
To distant climes! Though other ties may bind,
And busy projects fill the aspiring mind;
Though eyes are dimm'd, and cheerful voices hush'd,
And the light step is gone, and cheeks that blush'd
In beauty's bloom are wan; say, do not still
Tidings from home the wanderer's bosom thrill,
Refreshing memory's faded pictures?--Home!
Oh! At that spell, what mingled feelings come
Thick on the heart, with overwhelming force--
Love, tenderness, regret, perchance remorse.
Alas! how few look back upon their youth,
Who glean not from the past the unwelcome truth
That Time, of stealthy step and pinion grey,
Brings no new joy like that he takes away!