Sitting by the Fire [poem by Henry Kendall, 1861]

[Editor: This poem by Henry Kendall was published in Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Chronicle (21 December 1861). It was also published in Poems and Songs (1862).]

Sitting by the Fire.

[An Old Man’s Reverie.]

Barren age and withered World !
Oh ! the dying leaves,
Like a drizzling rain,
Falling round the roof,
Pattering on the pane !
Frosty Age, and cold, cold world !
Ghosts of other days
Trooping past the faded fire,
Flit before the gaze !
Now the wind goes soughing wild,
O’er the whistling Earth ;
And we front a feeble flame,
Sitting round the hearth !
Sitting by the fire,
Watching in its glow,
Ghosts of other days,
Trooping to and fro !

* * * * * * * *

Oh ! the nights — the nights we spent,
Sitting by the fire,
Cheerful in its glow,
Twenty summers back —
Twenty years ago !
If the days were days of toil,
Wherefore should we mourn,
There were shadows near the shine —
Flowers with the thorn !
And we still can recollect
Evenings spent in mirth —
Fragments of a broken life —
Sitting round the hearth !
Sitting by the fire,
Cheerful in its glow,
Twenty summers back —
Twenty years ago !
Beauty stooped to bless us once !
Sitting by the fire,
Happy in its glow,
Forty summers back —
Forty years ago !
Words of love were interchanged,
Maiden hearts we stole ;
And the light affection throws,
Slept on every soul !
Oh ! the hour’s went flying past —
Hours of priceless worth ;
But we took no note of Time,
Sitting round the hearth !
Sitting by the fire,
Happy in its glow,
Forty summers back —
Forty years ago.
Gleesome children were we not ?
Sitting by the fire,
Ruddy in its glow,
Sixty summers back —
Sixty years ago !

Laughing voices filled the room ;
Oh, the songs we sung,
When the evenings hurried by —
When our hearts were young,
Pleasant faces watched the flame —
Eyes illumed with mirth —
And we told some merry tales
Sitting round the hearth !
Sitting by the fire,
Ruddy in its glow,
Sixty summers back —
Sixty years ago !

* * * * * * * *

Barren Age, and withered world !
Oh ! the dying leaves,
Like a drizzling rain,
Falling round the roof —
Pattering on the pane !
Frosty Age, and cold, cold world !
Ghosts of other days
Trooping past the faded fire,
Flit before the gaze !
Now the wind goes soughing wild,
O’er the whistling Earth ;
And we front a feeble flame,
Sitting round the hearth !
Sitting by the fire,
Watching in its glow,
Ghosts of other days
Trooping to and fro !

Henry Kendall.



Source:
Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Chronicle (Sydney, NSW), 21 December 1861, page 3

Also published in:
Henry Kendall, Poems and Songs, J. R. Clarke, Sydney, 1862, pages 34-38

Editor’s notes:
sough = a soft sound, like a moaning, murmuring, rustling, or sighing sound

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