The Spirit of the Nation/Boyhood's Years

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Ah! why should I recal them—the gay, the joyous years,
Ere hope was cross'd or pleasure dimm'd by sorrow and by tears?
Or why should memory love to trace youth's glad and sunlit way,
When those who made its charms sweet are gathered to decay?
The summer's sun shall come again to brighten hill and bower—
The teeming earth its fragrance bring beneath the balmy shower;
But all in vain will mem'ry strive, in vain we shed our tears—
They're gone away and can't return—the friends of boyhood's years!

Ah! why then wake my sorrow, and bid me now count o'er
The vanished friends so dearly prized—the days to come no more—
The happy days of infancy, when no guile our bosoms knew,
Nor reck'd we of the pleasures that with each hour flew?
'Tis all in vain to weep for them—the past a dream appears;
And where are they—the lov'd, the young, the friends of boyhood's years?

Go seek them in the cold church-yard—they long have stolen to rest;
But do not weep, for their young cheeks by woe were ne'er oppressed:
Life's sun for them in splendour set—no cloud came o'er the ray
That lit them from this gloomy world upon their joyous way.
No tears about their graves be shed—but sweetest flow'rs be flung—
The fittest off'ring thou canst make to hearts that perish young—
To hearts this world has not torn with racking hopes and fears;
For bless'd are they who pass away in boyhood's happy years.