Would some magic power lend me
Aid to stay the witching tone,
Art to pain the beauteous picture
Ere its impress swift has flown.
* * * * * *
While I dreamed the day has faded,
Stars are shining overhead,
Evening winds have ceased to whisper,
Twilight’s shadows all have fled.
Thus, too oft, our life-work seemeth,
And we, when disowned its sway,
Find we are pursuing phantoms,
Shadows in the twilight gray.
“How many times and oft” has the sweet, sweet word been sung in song and told in story. And he sang sweetest of home, who had never a home on earth. If one to whom home was only a poet’s dream, could portray its charms by only imagination, until a million hearts thrilled with responsive echo, how deeper, how more intense must be his longings and recollections who treasures, deep down in his heart the sweet delights and pure associations that he has known, but never may know again. We do not appreciate our blessings until they have passed. We do not try to gather the sunbeams until the clouds have obscured them.
How many and many a youth, brave-hearted and true, answers with eager haste the war call of his native land all heedless of the home he is leaving, and the loving arms that sheltered him there. But when his soldier’s blood is crimsoning the sands beneath a foreign sky, the thoughts that go with his ebbing life are of home—all of home.
Who rushes from his home out into the world, blind devotee of fortune’s phantom goddess, to realize a phantom indeed, sits down in his despondency and his despair, to dream of “dear old home”.
Yes, too, and the wretch—so seemingly depraved that nothing beautiful or pure of soul is left—who flings from him his life in mad suicide, goes out into that trackless eternity with home upon the lips of death. Then if the patter of baby’s feet, the glad ring of children’s voices echo within the walls of your home, if father and mother; and brothers and sisters brighten it with the sunshine of love, enjoy it while you may, make it your heaven, and be not in over-haste to break the ties that bind you there.
You may never weep, perchance, over a home made desolate by death; and yet, time—so surely as time is—will make it but only a memory. And all too late each heart will learn that it did not prize enough the blessedness of home.
Why is it we grasp at the shadow
That flits from us swift as thought,
While the real that maketh the shadow
Stands in our way unsought?
And why do we wonder, and wonder,
What’s beyond the hill-tops of thought?
Why is it the things that we sigh for
Are the things that we never can reach?
Why, only the sternest experience
A lession of patience can teach?
And why hold we so careless and lightly
The treasures that are in our reach?