Wherever I wander, wherever I roam,
The home of my youth oft recurs to my mind;
And with it the loved ones, who gave to that home
The sacred delight I can nowhere else find;
The meadow--the river--the bridge o'er the stream--
The village bells ringing--all float in my dream!
The wood and the valley, the hamlet and mill,
The church, with its ivied and turreted tow'r,
Are fresh in my mem'ry as if I were still
A wanderer midst them in summer's bright hour;
Oh what can compare to the bliss of that time?
The charm of those scenes, or the spell of that chime?
What treasured affections arise in my soul,
Shedding over my mem'ry luminous light,
As the beams of the moon, when dark clouds unroll,
And reveal to our vision scenes veiled by night;
Each object familiar starts out in relief,
That scene of my joy, or that spot of my grief!
I call to remembrance the homes of the poor;
Their patience, and industry, virtue, and pride--
(Best servants of all to keep want from the door),
And the cares, and the griefs they sought not to hide:
I loved them! and fain would be with them again,
To share in their pleasure, or soften their pain.
Ah! many a lesson I've learned from their lot,
How to curb my complaints, and my blessings to prize;
I saw that contentment was wealth in a cot;
That poverty's sons could be noble and wise;
Each had his portion of trials to bear,
Some thorn of the flesh, or some harassing care.
And such were the treasures my early life gave!
Such taught me to value the pure and the true;
To strengthen the weak, and to learn from the brave,
To imitate virtue that praise never knew;
To carry sweet sympathy home to the heart,
To bind up its wounds, and pour balm on its smart.