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WHERE are they now, those wanton Boys? For whose free range the daedal earth Was filled with animated toys, And implements of frolic mirth; With tools for ready wit to guide; And ornaments of seemlier pride, More fresh, more bright, than princes wear; For what one moment flung aside, Another could repair; What good or evil have they seen 10 Since I their pastime witnessed here, Their daring wiles, their sportive cheer? I ask–but all is dark between! They met me in a genial hour, When universal nature breathed As with the breath of one sweet flower,– A time to overrule the power Of discontent, and check the birth Of thoughts with better thoughts at strife, The most familiar bane of life 20 Since parting Innocence bequeathed Mortality to Earth! Soft clouds, the whitest of the year, Sailed through the sky–the brooks ran clear; The lambs from rock to rock were bounding; With songs the budded groves resounding; And to my heart are still endeared The thoughts with which it then was cheered; The faith which saw that gladsome pair Walk through the fire with unsinged hair. 30 Or, if such faith must needs deceive– Then, Spirits of beauty and of grace, Associates in that eager chase; Ye, who within the blameless mind Your favourite seat of empire find– Kind Spirits! may we not believe That they, so happy and so fair Through your sweet influence, and the care Of pitying Heaven, at least were free From touch of ‘deadly’ injury? 40 Destined whate’er their earthly doom, For mercy and immortal bloom! 1817.