Long Ago

A poem by Eugene Field

I once knew all the birds that came
And nested in our orchard trees;
For every flower I had a name--
My friends were woodchucks, toads, and bees;
I knew where thrived in yonder glen
What plants would soothe a stone-bruised toe--
Oh, I was very learned then;
But that was very long ago!

I knew the spot upon the hill
Where checkerberries could be found,
I knew the rushes near the mill
Where pickerel lay that weighed a pound!
I knew the wood,--the very tree
Where lived the poaching, saucy crow,
And all the woods and crows knew me--
But that was very long ago.

And pining for the joys of youth,
I tread the old familiar spot
Only to learn this solemn truth:
I have forgotten, am forgot.
Yet here's this youngster at my knee
Knows all the things I used to know;
To think I once was wise as he--
But that was very long ago.

I know it's folly to complain
Of whatsoe'er the Fates decree;
Yet were not wishes all in vain,
I tell you what my wish should be:
I'd wish to be a boy again,
Back with the friends I used to know;
For I was, oh! so happy then--
But that was very long ago!

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