The Past

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From the far off time of my youthful prime
A light comes evermore;
Oh! it seems so bright in its far‐off light,
The glory I had of yore.

What the swallow sang with its silvery clang,
When autumn and spring were near;
What the church bells rung and the choristers sung,
The chant and the song I hear.
Oh! that parting day when I went away,
How my heart to joy awoke!
And again I came, but ah! not the same,
For the trusting heart was broke.
Since that parting day—that parting day
Through the fair bright world I’ve ranged,
And the world is there still as bright and fair
But I—’tis I have changed.
Oh! childhood’s truth, with its words of sooth,
And its lips as pure as gold,
Like a bird it sung, and its untaught tongue
Was wise as the prophets of old.
Bright home and hearth, in this joyless dearth,
Could thy holy vision gleam
But once, once more from the far‐off shore
Of the past, as a heavenly dream!
Oh! the swallow may come from her southern home,
The spendthrift regain his gold,
The church bells ring, and the choristers sing
Again as they did of old;
But the hopes of youth and its trusting truth,
And bright sunny laughter gleams,
Once passed and o’er, can return no more,
Except in the land of dreams.

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