A Dream of Long Ago [poem, 9 August 1870]

[Editor: A poem published in The Evening News, 9 August 1870.]

A Dream of Long Ago.

The drooping willows whisper soft, the sedges murmur low,
The water-lillies white unveil their breasts of gleaming snow;
The kingfisher, a living gem, flits like a meteor by,
The sun goes down, the star of eve upriseth in the sky.

There comes to me a memory, a memory of old,
A tale of youth whose chronicles are ever writ in gold;
A tale of love in olden days, when youth was all aglow,
A tale of bright and happy dreams, a weary while ago.

’Twas in the melting, mellow light of eve in early spring,
’Twas when the wattles were in flower, the wild birds on the wing;
But, more than all, ’twas when our hearts had never known a care,
And when the greed of fame, or gold, had never entered there.

Ah, golden hours of indolence! Ah, fleeting hours of bliss;
Unmarked save by the clasp of hands, or by the stolen kiss!
We drifted on the river, carried onward by its flow,
Beneath the bending willow-boughs, a weary while ago.

I dropped the oars — and she the rope that held the rudder band —
Somehow it happened, by-and-by, that hand lay clasped in hand;
And presently entwined were arms, and eye spoke mute to eye,
No sound around to break the charm, save when the breeze went by.

Old am I now, and silver-haired, and life hath lost its zest,
I soon beneath the daisied turf shall lie in dreamless rest;
But whilst I live, and whilst I love, on this fair earth below,
I’ll treasure in my heart of hearts those dreams of — long ago.

The Evening News (Sydney, NSW), 9 August 1870, p. 3

Editor’s notes:
daisied = covered with daisies (flowers belonging to the sunflower family)

sedge = a grass-like plant with a solid three-sided stem, which grows in tufts, typically found in wet ground or near water, such as marshes; any of the grass-like plants of the family Cyperaceae (especially those of the of the genus Carex)

[Editor: Corrected “dassied” to “daisied”.]

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