‘TWAS yesterday; ’twas long ago:
And for this flaunting grimy street,
And for this crowding to and fro,
And thud and roar of wheels and feet,
Were elm-trees and the linnet’s trill,
The little gurgles of the rill,
And breath of meadow-flowers that blow
Ere roses make the summer sweet.
‘Twas long ago; ’twas yesterday:
Our peach would just be new with leaves,
The swallow pair that used to lay
Their glimmering eggs beneath our eaves
Would flutter busy with their brood,
And, haply, in our hazel-wood,
Small village urchins hide at play,
And girls sit binding blue-bell sheaves.
Was the house here, or there, or there?
No landmark tells. All changed; all lost;
As when the waves that fret and tear
The fore-shores of some level coast
Roll smoothly where the sea-pinks grew.
All changed, and all grown old anew;
And I pass over, unaware,
The memories I am seeking most.
But where these huddled house-rows spread,
And where this thickened air hangs murk
And the dim sun peers round and red
On stir and haste and cares and work,
For me were baby’s daisy-chains
,For me the meetings in the lanes,
The shy good-morrows softly said
That paid my morning’s lying lurk.
Oh lingering days of long ago,
Not until now you passed away.
Years wane between and we unknow;
Our youth is always yesterday
.But, like a traveller home who craves
For friends and finds forgotten graves,
I seek you where you dwelt, and, lo,
Even farewells not left to say.