Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
My Early Day
By G. A. Gamage
 
“MY 1 early day, what joys were thine!”
  And yet thou hadst some sorrows too;
A varied wreath they join’d to twine,
  And ’midst it hope her blossoms threw—
Borne on the breeze, her rosy kiss        5
  Bade pleasure sojourn there,
Love came to tune her lute of bliss,
  And requiems sung to care.
 
Dear days of peace! ah, whither fled?
  O’er my young bower ye did but hover,        10
Then, like the dove, your pinions spread,
  And sought your home—the skies, forever!
Your morning gales my path beguiled,
  Nor whisper’d they should die so soon;
Nor each bright bud that round it smiled,        15
  Dream of departing ere ’t was noon.
 
But those are hush’d, and these are gone,
  And sadness rules the blighted scene;
I wander downcast and alone,
  Scarce mindful they have ever been!        20
So chill, time’s marble foot hath pass’d
  Through childhood’s dimpled vale,
No herb can bloom, no verdure last,
  To cheer life’s evening pale.
 
Sweet hours! with golden pastimes fraught,        25
  On you I turn my streaming eye
And think—and in that racking thought,
  My heart—my gushing heart would die.
Ye conjure up each once-loved form,
  Each well-remember’d voice awaken—        30
Then show me how they met the storm,
  And sunk, on joy’s bright shore forsaken.
 
Ne’er shall they mount with me again,
  I loved so well—yon sunny steep;
One stroke hath dash’d our hands in twain,        35
  And ’neath its broomwood hedge they sleep.
His pang descends not to their bed,
  Who sickens round the scene,
To know life’s infant flowers are dead,
  Its riper thorns yet green.        40
 
On wing more swift than morning lark,
  My faded years unloved are borne;—
Where wilt thou land me, oh my bark,
  If not to youth’s dear port we turn?
Must man o’erpass the beckoning vale,        45
  And all its winning sweets renounce?—
And all its winning sweets renounce?—
  He freights his bark but once!
 
Oh tell me, “step-dame nature,” tell,
  Where shall thy wayward child abide,        50
On what far strand his spirit dwell,
  When life has spent its struggling tide?
Shall hope no more her taper mourn,
  Quench’d in the tear that sorrow sends;
Nor from the feast misfortune spurn        55
  The wishful wretch that o’er it bends?
 
No more shall folly’s yellow wing
  O’er pleasure’s path shed sickly dews?
Nor youth’s delightful day of spring
  ’Mid grief’s dim cloud its lustre lose?        60
Say—ne’er shall wealth’s gay-spangled plume
  Deceive, as when it erst was mine?
Nor love turn shuddering from the tomb;
  Nor joy at her short reign repine?
 
And when the grave its grassy veil        65
  Between these eyes and life shall spread,
Shall memory blight the primrose pale,
  That kindly strives to shade my bed?
Or shall the form that slumbers there,
  No more of pain nor death endure?        70
Oh, pour thine answer on my ear—
  “I ’ve told thee—told thee, child—NO MORE!”
 
Note 1. G. A. Gamage is a native of Massachusetts. He has been the editor of several papers in this state, and New York. His poetry has appeared under the signature of Montgarnier. [back]
 
 
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