“Begone!” a watchman’s voice exclaimed;
“Your rustic garb is much too poor;
How comes it, you are not ashamed
In such a place to play the boor?
From company like this withdraw!
Obey the mandate of the law!”
The startled strangers meekly rose
And moved away with downcast eyes,
Too wonted to such cruel blows
To manifest the least surprise;
Too humbled to inquire why;
Too timid to attempt reply.
Poor outcasts from that joyous stage
Where well-dressed hundreds strolled at ease,
With faltering steps, and bowed with age,
They vanished slowly ’neath the trees;
But neither scanned the other’s face,
For fear a falling tear to trace.
Farewell, sweet, music-laden air,
And sunshine on the sheltered strand!
I follow where that outcast pair
Are walking sadly, hand in hand;
For me your vaunted charm hath fled,
While they remain uncomforted.
I dwell in a region of valleys fair,
Of stately forests and mountains bold,
Of churches filled with treasures rare,
And storied castles centuries old;
But now and then, when the sun sinks low,
And the vesper bell is softly rung,
I think of the days of long ago,
And yearn for the land where I was young.
I live where the sun shines bright and warm
On feathery palms and terraced vines,
Yet oft I sigh for a boreal storm
And the sough of the wind through northern pines;
And though my ear hath wonted grown
To the accents strange of an alien tongue,
No speech hath half so sweet a tone
As the language learned when I was young.
I live in a land where men are kind,
And friends increase, as the years roll on,
Yet of them all not one I find
So dear as those of the days now gone;
And so I think, as the sun sinks low,
And the curfew bell of my life is rung,
I shall turn to my home of long ago,
And die in the land where I was young.
Shrine of my mind, my Library!
Each morn I greet thee with delight,
When, soul-refreshed, I bring to thee
The benediction of the night;
Encompassed by thy sheltering walls,
’Mid books whose interest enthralls,
Life’s shadow from my spirit falls.
Behold! above the wooded height
The sun-god’s glittering disk appears,
And at a bound its flood of light
The intervening valley clears;
Enveloped in its noiseless tide,
Each castle on the mountain side
Stands forth in splendor, glorified.
How welcome are the yellow waves
That through the eastern windows pour
And, with a warmth my nature craves,
Transmute to gold the polished floor!
Then mount to gild my desk, my chair,
And e’en the spotless paper there,
Which soon my written thought must bear.