Long Ago.

There was a tree, an aged tree,1
That once I loved to climb,2
And, throned upon its branches three,3
To rock them all the time ;4
To laugh and shout, devoid of fears,5
And swing me to and fro6
But ah ! ’twas in my childish years,7
That passed so long ago !8
I’ve led a merry troop of boys,9
Through tangled woods and lanes10
Too boisterous in our reckless noise11
To heed the bramble-pains.12
We never cared for garments torn,13
An hour the rent would sew ;14
And we’d no time to stay and mourn15
In childhood long ago !16
I’ve climbed the rocks, and leapt about17
From jutting stone to stone,18
And heeded not the warning shout,19
Nor marked its earnest tone :20
For pride could conquer danger then,21
And joy o’ermaster wo22
And thus I dared the deeds of men,23
In boyhood long ago !24
There’s not a brook I have not leapt,25
Anear my native town26
Nor field nor hill where man has stept,27
Lhave not wandered down :28
And these as freshly haunt me still,29
And still their forms I know30
The brook, the field, the high-peaked hill,31
That charmed me long ago !32
I often think the early days33
Were fairy days to me ;34
That childhood feels enchanted rays35
Which manhood cannot see :36
For cares and years together come,37
In one entangled flow,38
And angel-voices all are dumb39
That soothed us long ago.40
So long ago, the distant past41
Is like a pleasant dream,42
But on the future still is cast43
Its warm and sunny gleam :44
A gleam of sunshine ever bright45
To cheer the path below,46
And wake anew the truthful light47
That led us long ago !48