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Alfred H. Miles, ed. The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century. 1907.

By IX Poems (1840). III. Former Home

Caroline Clive (1801–1873)

IN scenes untrod for many a year,

I stand again, the long estranged;

And gazing round me, ponder here

On all that has, and has not changed.

The casual visitor would see

Naught altered in the aspects round;

But long familiar shapes to me

Are missing, which I fain had found.

Still stands the rock, still runs the flood,

Which not an eye could pass unmov’d;

The flow’ry bank, the fringing wood,

Which e’en the passer mark’d and lov’d.

But when mine eye’s delighted pride,

Had dwelt the rocks high front upon,

I sought upon its warmer side

A vine we train’d—and that was gone.

And though awhile content I gazed

Upon the river quick and fair,

I sought, ere long, a seat we raised

In childhood—but it was not there.

Stones lay around, I knew not whether

Its relics, or the winter’s snow—

And sitting where we sate together,

Again I watch’d the torrent flow.

So whirl’d the waves that form’d it then,

In foam around yon jutting stone;

So arrowy shot they down the glen,

When here we pass’d the hours long flown.

There in the waters dipp’d the tree

From which, the day I parted hence,

I took a few green leaves, to be

My solace still through time and chance.

Full many a spring the tree has shone

In sunlight, air, and beauty here;

While I in cities gazed upon

The wither’d leaves of that one year.

That year was fraught with heavy things,

With deaths and partings, loss and pain;

And every object round me rings

Its mournful epitaph again.

But most, those small familiar traits,

Which only we have lov’d or known;

They flourish’d with our happier days—

They wither’d because we were gone.

Their absence seems to speak of those

Who’re scatter’d far upon the earth,

At whose young hands they once arose

Whose eyes gazed gleeful on their birth.

Those hands since then have grasp’d the brand,

Those eyes in grief grown dim and hot,

And wand’ring through a stranger’s land,

Oft yearn’d to this remember’d spot.

How changed are they!—how changed am I!

The early spring of life is gone,

Gone is each youthful vanity,—

But what with years, oh what is won?

I know not—but while standing now

Where open’d first the heart of youth,

I recollect how high would glow

Its thoughts of Glory, Faith, and Truth—

How full it was of good and great,

How true to heav’n how warm to men.

Alas! I scarce forbear to hate

The colder breast I bring again.

Hopes disappointed, sin, and time,

Have moulded me since here I stood;

Ah! paint old feelings, rock sublime,

Speak life’s fresh accents, mountain flood!