The Necromancy of the Past.

Fruits seem sweeter when the season1
Of their flourishing is o’er ;2
Scenes are fairer, for the reason3
That we ne’er may see them more.4
Oft amid an orchard, swelling5
With red, fragrant apples, I6
Languish for that Indian dwelling7
Where my eager youth went by :8
Languish for the mangoes golden9
Sweet guavas, pink at core10
Or pomegranates, inward holding11
Crimson kernels in rich store !12
Papaws, in the sunshine, yellow,13
Clustering thick ’neath foliage broad14
Plantains, primrose-hued and mellow15
Tamarinds that shroud the road ;16
Custard-apples, white and milky,17
With a food most like their name18
Sweet rose-apples, odorous, silky,19
On a tree of stalwart frame ;20
Figs, the coolest fruit that quenches21
Fevered lips neath tropic skies ;22
And such flowers as no dew drenches23
’Neath our northern Flora’s eyes !24
Wherefore prize the things we have not25
Thus above what we possess ?26
These were mine, yet then they gave not27
To the mind contentedness !28
In those days, I do remember29
How I longed for British land :30
The very snows of home’s December31
Warmed ’neath fancy’s genial hand !32
Cowslips from the mead, primroses33
Gathered from the hillside dew,34
More I prized than brightest posies35
Gleaned ’neath skies of cloudless blue !36
When the babool’s perfumed blossoms37
Swung their goldlike tassels near,38
I bethought me of kind bosoms39
Decked with pinks and violets dear ;40
And the moogra, white and fragrant,41
Twined ’mid hair as black as night,42
Seemed to fancy’s dreamings vagrant43
Neither half so sweet or bright44
As the snowy lilies, treasured45
In our early summer day :46
Ah ! how seldom things are measured47
Justly, till they pass away !48
For the absent ever longing ;49
On the past still heaping praise ;50
Bitterly the present wronging51
With complaint’s insensate lays ;52
We but throw athwart the future53
Shadows, sure to brood when all54
Echo’s sweetest songs are muter55
Than lorn Silence in her hall !56
Why is this ?  Why place such value57
On life’s vainly-squandered gold ?58
Why, when gentle voices call you,59
Turn to those now dumb and cold ?60
Why, when evening’s shadows round us61
Paint the fields of youth no more,62
Scorn the wreaths that may have crowned us63
For the thorns within their core ?64
Subtleties of the affections65
We may question, aye in vain,66
Making still our heart-elections67
’Gainst decisions of the brain.68
God hath given us tastes and feelings ;69
And to regulate their choice,70
We must look for such revealings71
As His will alone employs !72
Theories that prate of reason73
As a study taught by men,74
Are like sudden schemes of treason75
Planned within a lion’s den :76
One fierce, passionate experience77
Proves how fallacies are crushed,78
Just as traitor-tongues, at variance,79
’Neath the lion’s paws are hushed !80
Love, and joy, and innocent likings,81
Have their laws for hearts, not heads :82
The spider web of metaphysics83
Honest feeling tears to shreds !84