I have tasted all life's pleasures, I have snatched at all its joys,
The dance's merry measures and the revel's festive noise;
Though wit flashed bright the live-long night, and flowed the ruby tide,
I sighed for thee, I sighed for thee, my own fireside!
In boyhood's dreams I wandered far across the ocean's breast,
In search of some bright earthly star, some happy isle of rest;
I little thought the bliss I sought in roaming far and wide
Was sweetly centred all in thee, my own fireside!
How sweet to turn at evening's close from all our cares away,
And end in calm, serene repose, the swiftly passing day!
The pleasant books, the smiling looks of sister or of bride,
All fairy ground doth make around one's own fireside!
"My Lord" would never condescend to honour my poor hearth;
"His Grace" would scorn a host or friend of mere plebeian birth;
And yet the lords of human kind, whom man has deified,
For ever meet in converse sweet around my fireside!
The poet sings his deathless songs, the sage his lore repeats,
The patriot tells his country's wrongs, the chief his warlike feats;
Though far away may be their clay, and gone their earthly pride,
Each god-like mind in books enshrined still haunts my fireside!
Oh, let me glance a moment through the coming crowd of years,
Their triumphs or their failures, their sunshine or their tears;
How poor or great may be my fate, I care not what betide,
So peace and love but hallow thee, my own fireside!
Still let me hold the vision close, and closer to my sight;
Still, still, in hopes elysian, let my spirit wing its flight;
Still let me dream, life's shadowy stream may yield from out its tide,
A mind at rest, a tranquil breast, a quiet fireside!