(With Apologies To Riley.)
As one who dreams at evening o'er the new hats that he's worn,
And muses on the better times that once to him were known,
So I turn the leaves of fancy till, in shadowy design,
I see the faded ribbon on that old straw hat of mine.
The firelight seems to mock me as the ruddy flames arise,
And I turn about to rest me of the dazzle in my eyes;
And I ponder then in silence, save a sigh that seems to yoke
Its fate with my condition, and to vanish like the smoke.
With fondest recollection the loving thoughts that start
Into being are but feelings from the bottom of my heart;
And to wear the new hats over is a luxury divine--
Till my truant fancy wanders with that old straw hat of mine.
Now I hear without my chamber, like a fluttering of wings,
The rustling of the autumn wind as through the trees it sings,
And I feel no twinge of conscience to deny me any scheme
That will bring to me a hat of which I now can only dream.
In fact, to speak in earnest, if I could work a charm,
I'd try it on old Isaacs--'twouldn't do him much of harm--
And I'd find an extra flavor in memory's mellow wine
When I thought of how I swapped him that old straw hat of mine.
A thing of real beauty, with a shape of airy grace,
Floats out of Isaacs' storehouse, as the genii from the vase,
And, oh! I gaze upon it with a pair of loving eyes,
As glowing as the summer and as tender as the skies!
But, ah! my dream is broken when I gaze upon that chair,
For my eyes are now wide open and--the same old hat is there;
And reluctantly and sadly all my visions I resign
To know that I must wear again that old straw hat of mine!