After a lengthened life, I walk again
The woodland mazes, in whose secret paths
My childhood days, like happy dreams, were passed.
Beautiful scenes! the wild and joyous boy,
That wandered from your dim and quiet haunts
In hope, and strength, and gladness hath come back
A weary and heart-broken man. His hope!
Alas, the grave hath swallowed it! his strength!
'T was broken in the distant battlefield--
His gladness hath given place to frequent tears.
Methinks that many years have wrought a change
Even on your calm beauty. The red deer,
Whose bounding hoofs flew down yon darkened glade
Swift as an arrow-flight, are nowhere seen
Under the mossy boughs--and the meek fawn
And gentle roe are not beside the founts
In their green pastures; haply they have found
The hunter's rifle deadlier than the shaft
From the slight bow that pleased my infancy.
Alas! the green tree at my cabin door,
The huge growth of a century! it lies
On the smooth slope it overhung so long;
The flowers are gone from the broad garden walks,
And the fair trees are dead! the sycamore
Clothed like a prince in scarlet, the pale birch--
A tall and silvery spire--the hoary beech,
And the dark, solemn cypress, lie o'erthrown
In ruin, and rank weeds rejoice above.
My brethren come not at my call; the song
My mother sang at Twilight is not heard
By the still threshold, and the passing wind
Sighs o'er my father's grave; this lonely place
Hath lost its charm--I leave it to its dead!