I dreamed, and 't was a lovely, blessed dream,
That I again my native hills had found,
The mossy rocks, the valley, and the stream
That used to hold me captive to its sound.
I was a child again—I roamed anew
About my early haunts, and saw the whole
That fades, with waking memory, from the view
Of this mysterious thing we call the soul
A very child, again beside the brook,
I made my puny hand a cup to dip
Among the sparkling waters, where I took
Its hollow full and brought it to my lip.
And oh! that cooling draught I still can taste,
And feel it in the spirit and the flesh.
'T is like a fount, that in the desert waste
Leaps out, the weary pilgrim to refresh.
The spice of other days was borne along,
From shrub and forest, on the balmy breeze;
I heard my warbling wild bird's tender song
Come sweet and thrilling through the rustling trees.
All was restored, as in the sunny day
When I believed my little, rural ground
The centre of the world, whose limits lay
Just where the bright horizon hemmed it round.
And she, who was my sister then, but now,
What she may be, the pure immortals know,
Who, round the throne of the Eternal bow,
And bathe in glory veiled from all below.
But she was there, who, with her riper years,
Once walked, the guardian of my infant feet;
Drew from my hand the thorn, wiped off my tears,
And brought fresh flowers to deck our grassy seat.
I saw her cheek with life's warm current flushed;
Clung to the fingers that used to hold;
Heard the loved voice that is for ever hushed;
And felt the form that long ago was cold.
All I have been and known, in all the years
Since I was sporting in that cherished spot,
My hopes, my joys, my wishes and my tears,
As only dreamings, were alike forgot.
'T was this that made my dream so blest and bright,
And me the careless thing that I was then.
Yet, Time, I would not now reverse thy flight,
And risk the running of my race again.
The fairest joys that struck their roots in earth
I would not rear again, to bloom and fade!
I've had them once, in their ideal worth;
Their height I've measured, and their substance weighed.
Nor those, who sleep in peace, would I awake
To have their hearts with time's delusions filled;
The seal, that God has set, I would not break;
Nor call the voice to lips that he has stilled.
And yet I love my dream—'t was very sweet
To be among my native hills again;
Where my light heart was borne by infant feet,
The careless, blissful creature I was then!
Whene'er I think of it, the warm tears roll,
Uncalled, and unforbidden, down my cheek;
But not for joy, or sorrow. O my soul,
Thy nature, power, or purpose, who can speak?