Once more ye waver dreamily before me,
Forms that so early cheered my troubled eyes!
To hold you fast doth still my heart implore me?
Still bid me clutch the charm that lures and flies?
Ye crowd around! come, then, hold empire o'er me,
As from the mist and haze of thought ye rise;
The magic atmosphere, your train enwreathing,
Through my thrilled bosom youthful bliss is breathing.
Ye bring with you the forms of hours Elysian,
And shades of dear ones rise to meet my gaze;
First Love and Friendship steal upon my vision
Like an old tale of legendary days;
Sorrow renewed, in mournful repetition,
Runs through life's devious, labyrinthine ways;
And, sighing, names the good (by Fortune cheated
Of blissful hours!) who have before me fleeted.
These later songs of mine, alas! will never
Sound in their ears to whom the first were sung!
Scattered like dust, the friendly throng forever!
Mute the first echo that so grateful rung!
To the strange crowd I sing, whose very favor
Like chilling sadness on my heart is flung;
And all that kindled at those earlier numbers
Roams the wide earth or in its bosom slumbers.
And now I feel a long-unwonted yearning
For that calm, pensive spirit-realm, to-day;
Like an Aeolian lyre, (the breeze returning,)
Floats in uncertain tones my lisping lay;
Strange awe comes o'er me, tear on tear falls burning,
The rigid heart to milder mood gives way!
What I possess I see afar off lying,
And what I lost is real and undying.