The Return.

Art thou come with the heart of thy childhood back,1
The free, the pure, the kind ?”2
So murmured the trees in my homeward track,3
As they played to the mountain wind.4
Hast thou been true to thine early love ?”5
Whispered my native streams,6
Doth the spirit reared amidst hill and grove,7
Still revere its first high dreams ?”8
Hast thou borne in thy bosom the holy prayer9
Of the child in his parent halls ?”10
Thus breathed a voice on the thrilling air,11
From the old ancestral walls.12
Has thou kept thy faith with the faithful dead,13
Whose place of rest is nigh ?14
With the father’s blessing o’er thee shed ?15
With the mother’s trusting eye ?”16
Then my tears gush’d forth in sudden rain,17
As I answered— “ Oh, ye shades !18
I bring not my childhood’s heart again19
To the freedom of your glades !20
I have turn’d from my first pure love aside,21
Oh, bright rejoicing streams !22
Light after light in my soul hath died,23
The early, glorious dreams !24
And the holy prayer from my thoughts hath pass’d,25
The prayer at my mother’s knee26
Darken’d and troubled I come at last,27
Thou home of my boyish glee !28
But I bear from my childhood a gift of tears,29
To soften and atone ;30
And, oh, ye scenes of those blessed years !31
They shall make me again your own.”32