An Old Sweetheart of Mine

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
An Old Sweetheart of Mine  (1902) 
by James Whitcomb Riley
Copyright 1902, The Bobbs-Merril Company. Illustrators:Howard Chandler Christy and Virginia Keep.
Book cover
End1.jpg
An Old Sweetheart of Mine 1.jpg
An Old Sweetheart of Mine 2.jpg
An Old Sweetheart of Mine 3.jpg
An Old Sweetheart of Mine 4.jpg
An Old

Sweetheart of Mine

James Whitcomb Riley

Drawings by Howard Chandler Christy

Decorations by Virginia Keep

The Bobbs-Merrill Company Publishers Indianapolis

Copyright, 1888-1899-1902 James Whitcomb Riley

Copyright, 1902 The Bowen-Merrill Company

An Old Sweetheart of Mine 5.jpg
Inscribed
An Old Sweetheart of Mine 6.jpg
To GEORGE C. HITT

The beginning of whose steadfast friendship was marked by the first publication of these verses which now, expanded by writer, honored by publisher and masterfully graced by artist, seem to be a worthier symbol of the author's grateful and affectionate regard for his earliest friend

An Old Sweetheart of Mine 7.jpg
An Old Sweetheart of Mine 8.jpg
I Frontispiece—An Old Sweetheart of Mine
II A fair, illusive vision that would vanish into air
III The then of changeless sunny days—The now of shower and shine
IV The old bookshelves and prints along the wall
V I find the smiling features of an old sweetheart of mine
VI Its fate with my tobacco and to vanish with the smoke
VII When my truant fancies wander with that old sweetheart of mine
VIII The voices of my children and the mother as she sings
IX For I find an extra flavor in Memory's mellow wine
X O childhood days enchanted! O the magic of the spring
XI To—smile, behind my lesson, at that old sweetheart of mine
XII A face of lily-beauty, with a form of airy grace
XIII When first I kissed her, and she answered the caress
XIV I slipped the apple in it—and the teacher didn't know
XV She gave me her photograph, and printed "Ever Thine"
XVI And again I feel the pressure of her slender little hand
XVII Where the vines were ever fruited, and the weather ever fine
XVIII And she my faithful sweetheart till the golden hair was gray
XIX The door is softly opened, and—my wife is standing there


An Old Sweetheart of Mine 9.jpg
An Old Sweetheart of Mine 10.jpg


The ordered intermingling

of the real and the dream,—

The mill above the river,

and the mist above the stream;

The life of ceaseless labor,

brave with song and cheery call—

The radiant skies of evening,

with its rainbow o'er us all.

An Old Sweetheart of Mine!—Is this

her presence here with me,

Or but a vain creation of

a lover's memory?

A fair, illusive vision

that would vanish into air

Dared I even touch the silence

with the whisper of a prayer?

An Old Sweetheart of Mine 10.jpg

Nay, let me then believe in all

the blended false and true—

The semblance of the old love

and the substance of the new,—

The then of changeless sunny days—

the now of shower and shine—

But Love forever smiling,—

as that old sweetheart of mine.

An Old Sweetheart of Mine 11.jpg

This ever-restful sense of home,

though shouts ring in the hall.—

The easy-chair—the old bookshelves

and prints along the wall;

The rare Habanas in their box,

or gaunt churchwarden-stem

That often wags, above the jar,

derisively at them.

An Old Sweetheart of Mine 12.jpg

As one who cons at evening

o'er an album, all alone,

And muses on the faces

of the friends that he has known,

So I turn the leaves of Fancy,

till, in shadowy design,

I find the smiling features of

an old sweetheart of mine.

An Old Sweetheart of Mine 13.jpg

The lamplight seems to glimmer

with a flicker of surprise,

As I turn it low—to rest me

of the dazzle in my eyes,

And light my pipe in silence,

save a sigh that seems to yoke

Its fate with my tobacco

and to vanish with the smoke.

An Old Sweetheart of Mine 14.jpg

The lamplight seems to glimmer

with a flicker of surprise,

As I turn it low—to rest me

of the dazzle in my eyes,

And light my pipe in silence,

save a sigh that seems to yoke

Its fate with my tobacco

and to vanish with the smoke.


An Old Sweetheart of Mine 15.jpg

'Tis a fragrant retrospection,—

for the loving thoughts that start

Into being are like perfume

from the blossom of the heart;

And to dream the old dreams over

is a luxury divine—

When my truant fancies wander

with that old sweetheart of mine.

An Old Sweetheart of Mine 16.jpg

Though I hear beneath my study,

like a fluttering of wings,

The voices of my children

and the mother as she sings—

I feel no twinge of conscience

to deny me any theme

When Care has cast her anchor

In the harbor of a dream—

An Old Sweetheart of Mine 17.jpg

In fact, to speak in earnest,

I believe it adds a charm

To spice the good a trifle

with a little dust of harm,—

For I find an extra flavor

in Memory's mellow wine

That makes me drink the deeper

to that old sweetheart of mine.

An Old Sweetheart of Mine 18.jpg

O Childhood-days enchanted!

O the magic of the Spring!—

With all green boughs to blossom white,

and all bluebirds to sing!

When all the air, to toss and quaff,

made life a jubilee

And changed the children's song and

laugh to shrieks of ecstasy.

An Old Sweetheart of Mine 19.jpg

With eyes half closed in clouds that ooze

from lips that taste, as well,

The peppermint and cinnamon,

I hear the old School-bell,

And from "Recess" romp in again

from "Blackman's" broken line,

To—smile, behind my "lesson",

at that old sweetheart of mine.

An Old Sweetheart of Mine 20.jpg

A face of lily-beauty,

with a form of airy grace,

Floats out of my tobacco

as the "Genii" from the vase

And I thrill beneath the glances

of a pair of azure eyes

As glowing as the summer

and as tender as the skies.

An Old Sweetheart of Mine 21.jpg

I can see the pink sunbonnet

and the little, checkered dress

She wore when first I kissed her

and she answered the caress

With the written declaration that,

"As surely as the vine

Grew 'round the stump," she loved me—

that old sweetheart of mine.

An Old Sweetheart of Mine 22.jpg

Again I make her presents,

in a really helpless way,—

The big "Rhode Island Greening"—

(I was hungry too, that day!)—

But I follow her from Spelling,

with her hand behind her—so—

And I slip the apple in it—

and the Teacher doesn't know!

An Old Sweetheart of Mine 23.jpg

I give my treasures to her—all,—

my pencil—blue-and-red;—

And, if little girls played marbles,

mine should all be hers, instead!—

But she gave me her photograph,

and printed "Ever Thine"

Across the back—in blue-and-red—

that old sweetheart of mine!

An Old Sweetheart of Mine 24.jpg

And again I feel the pressure

of her slender little hand,

As we used to talk together

of the future we had planned,—

When I should be a poet,

and with nothing else to do

But write the tender verses

that she set the music to....

An Old Sweetheart of Mine 25.jpg

When we should live together

in a cozy little cot

Hid in a nest of roses,

with a fairy garden-spot,

Where the vines were ever fruited

and the weather ever fine,

And the birds were ever singing

for that old sweetheart of mine....

An Old Sweetheart of Mine 26.jpg

When I should be her lover

forever and a day,

And she my faithful sweetheart

till the golden hair was gray;

And we should be so happy

that when either's lips were dumb

They would not smile in Heaven

till the other's kiss had come.

An Old Sweetheart of Mine 27.jpg

But, ah! my dream is broken

by a step upon the stair,

And the door is softly opened,

and—my wife is standing there:

Yet with eagerness and rapture

all my visions I resign,—

To greet the living presence

of that old sweetheart of mine.


An Old Sweetheart of Mine 28.jpg
Odd.jpg


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1916, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.