Like a thousan' birds o' brightness from the isles o' summer seas,
Rickollections, full o' gladness, come with songs and lullabies,
An' I listen to the carols that with gentle voices roll,
Full o' tenderness an' beauty, down upon my weary soul,
Fer thar's one thet keeps a-singin' with a song thet's never done,
An' I see the bendin' willers on the banks o' Turkey Run.
An' agin' I be a youngster with a youngster's foolin' dreams,
With his high-falutin' notions an' his fiddle-faddle schemes;
With the laughin' an' the cryin', with the sorrow an' the joy,
Thet is jumbled up together in the bosom o' the boy;
An' agin my arly fancies in a fairy loom are spun
Underneath the dancin' shadders on the banks o' Turkey Run.
An' agin I be a school-boy with the other merry lads,
When Joe an' Jerry, Bill an' I, wus only little tads,
When a half a dozen marvels an' a kivered ball was worth--
With a knife o' Barlow pattern--all the treasures o' the earth;
An' the soundin' sort o' thunder from a poppin' kind o' gun
Set our faces all a-giggle on the banks o' Turkey Run.
It 'ud tickle any feller but ter see the solemn look,
When the master was a-watchin', thet we fastened on the book,
But the mischief stickin' in us, like pertaters in a sack,
It wus never hard ter empty when the teacher turned his back;
O, the paper wads we tumbled thet 'ud weigh about a ton,
In thet crazy-cornered school-house on the banks o' Turkey Run!
How we used ter chase the robins an' the rabbits in the wood,
How we gethered bloomin' posies in the sighin' solitude!
How we wundered all the medders in our roamin's o'er an' o'er,
How we teetered in the branches o' the beech an' sycamore!
Or we watched the rompin' minners as they rasseled in their fun,
While we nearly bust a-laughin', on the banks o' Turkey Run!
How we used ter go a-fishin' when the day wus gittin' late,
With a little line o' cotton an' a fish-worm fer a bait!
With a bent pin for a fish-hook an' a hazel fer a pole,
How we sought the softest places by the widest, deepest hole!
How we teehee-eed at the nibbles, caught the fishes one by one,
With the biggest kind o' prowess, on the banks o' Turkey Run!
When the sun was burnin' shavin's in the heatin' stove o' June,
An' the clock upon the mantle wus a-knockin' off the noon
When the beams in bunches blistered as they never did afore,
An' the sweat was drippin', droppin', from the mouth o' every pore,
How we skipped across the medder, how our swimmin' wus begun,
In the cool an' crystal waters 'tween the banks o' Turkey Run!
O, the smilin' days o' childhood! O, the loudly laughin' years!
When contentment brings the moments neither heaviness ner tears!
When the pleasures jine the longin's an' the fairy fingers roll
All the heaps o' angel music in upon the blazin' soul!
O, my Joe an' Bill an' Jerry! Trustin' comrades, you wus won
Whar my bare feet brushed the grasses on the banks o' Turkey Run!
But, alas! Thar wus another; she was fairer than the rest,
An' she allus had a hearin' fer the wishes o' my breast;
Allus wus a chunk o' sunshine an' a piece o' quiet glee,
Allus had a smile o' welcome an' a tender word fer me;
An' without her wus no shinin' an' o' happiness wus none
Ter bring gladness ter my bosom on the banks o' Turkey Run.
O, her home wus in a cottage whar the mornin'-glories hung,
An' the arly birds o' April with their sweetest music sung;
Thar wus roses 'round her winder, thar wus roses 'round her door,
Thet wus stickin' full o' blushes, but they allus blushed the more,
When her eyes wus seen a-peepin' an' her cheeks beamed like the sun,
From thet cosy little cottage on the banks o' Turkey Run!
Many an' many a time we wandered in the grassy medder-land
With our wishes right together an' our longin's hand in hand;
How we dreamed about the future when the world should give me fame,
An' when she would be thrice noble to be worthy o' my name!
Thus we talked an' thus we fancied; others might my boyhood shun,
But I found her kind, my sweetheart, on the banks o' Turkey Run.
But the times have been a-changin' sence them arly years o' joy,
When she wus but a little girl an' I a little boy;
When Joe an' Jerry, Bill an' I, together wus at play,
With our hearts as light as feathers, every minute of the day,
An' at twilight sunk ter slumber tell the mornin' wus begun,
In the gloomy silent forests on the banks o' Turkey Run.
Bill an' Joe have gone a-rovin' on a fortune-huntin' quest
Through the silver mines an' Injuns in the mountains o' the west;
But the janders came ter Jerry with a solemn sort o' call
Tell they painted him as yaller as a punkin in the fall;
An' to-day I saw his tombstone as it glittered in the sun,
Over in the little churchyard, on the banks o' Turkey Run!
An' alas, my precious sweetheart! Like a lily virgin white,
Did she slowly fade an' wither tell her spirit took its flight!
Like an angel into heaven did she sweetly, calmly creep,
An' her lovely life wus over an' her bosom went ter sleep;
An' the tollin', tollin' church-bells dropt the dirges one by one,
As we laid her 'neath the wilier on the banks o' Turkey Run.
Thar a little cross o' marble marks the sacred, silent shade,
Whar the fair an' laughin' beauty o' my ole sweetheart wus laid;
An' the summer has a sadness thet is cryin' through the years,
An' my heart is full o' sorrow, an' mine eyes is full o' tears,
Fer I've allus had a failin', sence her friendship first I won,
Fer thet little lovin' maiden on the banks o' Turkey Run!
But them days have past forever in the years o' long ago,
An' a wishin' ter be wealthy has enraptured Bill an' Joe;
Death has taken Jerry; only I, o' all the boys,
Am' remainin' ter remember all them arly angel joys;
But to-night I see their faces as they peep in full o' fun,
An' agin we're boys together, on the banks o' Turkey Run!