LONG years have past since last I stood
Alone amid this mountain scene,
Unlike the future which I dreamed,
How like my future it has been!
A cold grey sky o’erhung with clouds,
With showers in every passing shade,
How like the moral atmosphere
Whose gloom my horoscope has made!
I thought if yet my weary feet
Could rove my native hills again,
A world of feeling would revive,
Sweet feelings wasted, worn in vain.
My early hopes, my early joys,
I dreamed those valleys would restore;
I asked for childhood to return,
For childhood, which returns no more.
Surely the scene itself is changed!
There did not always rest as now
That shadow in the valley’s depth,
That gloom upon the mountain-brow.
Wild flowers within the chasms dwelt
Like treasures in stone fairy hold,
And morning o’er the mountains shed
Her kindling world of vapoury gold.
Another season of the year
Is now upon the earth and me;
Another spring will light these hills—
No other spring mine own may be:
I must retune my unstrung harp,
I must awake the sleeping tomb,
I must recall the loved and lost,
Ere spring again for me could bloom.
I’ve wandered, but it was in vain,
In many a far and foreign clime,
Absence is not forgetfulness,
And distance cannot vanquish time.
One face was ever in my sight,
One voice was ever on my ear,
From all earth’s loveliness I turned
To wish, Ah that the dead were here!
Oh! weary wandering to no home,
Oh! weary wandering alone,
I turned to childhood’s once glad scenes
And found life’s last illusion flown.
Ah! those who left their childhood’s scenes
For after-years of toil and pain,
Who but bring back the breaking heart
Should never seek those scenes again.