Tuesday, May 14, 2013


I've wandered to the village, Tom.
            I've sat beneath the tree
Upon the schoolhouse playground
            That sheltered you and me;
But none were there to greet me, Tom,
            And few were left to know
Who played with us upon the green
            Just forty years ago.

The grass was just as green, Tom,
            Barefooted boys at play
Were sporting, just as we did then.
            With spirits just as gay;
But the master sleeps upon the hill
            Which, coated o'er with snow,
Afforded us a sliding-place
            Some forty years ago.

The old schoolhouse is altered some,
            The benches are replaced
By new ones, very like the same
            Our jack-knives had defaced.
But the same old bricks are in the wall
            And the bell swings to and fro,
Its music's just the same, dear Tom,
            'Twas forty years ago.

The spring that bubbled 'neath the hill.
            Close by the spreading beech,
Is very low; 'twas once so high
            That we could scarcely reach;
And kneeling down to take a drink,
            Dear Tom, I started so,
To think how very much I've changed
            Since forty years ago.

Near by that spring, upon an elm,
            You know I cut your name,
Your sweetheart's just beneath it, Tom,
            And you did mine the same;
Some heartless wretch has peeled the bark,
            'Twas dying sure, but slow,
Just as she died whose name you cut
            There forty years ago.

My lids have long been dry, Tom,
            But tears came in my eyes;
I thought of her I loved so well,
            Those early broken ties;
I visited the old churchyard,
            And took some flowers to strew
Upon the graves of those we loved
            Just forty years ago.

Well, some are in the churchyard laid,
            Some sleep beneath the sea,
But none are left of our old class,
            Excepting you and me;
And when our time shall come, Tom.
            And we are called to go,
I hope we'll meet with those we loved
            Some forty years ago.

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