Reminiscence

A poem by John Charles McNeill

We sang old love-songs on the way
In sad and merry snatches,
Your fingers o'er the strings astray
Strumming the random catches.

And ever, as the skiff plied on
Among the trailing willows,
Trekking the darker deeps to shun
The gleaming sandy shallows,

It seemed that we had, ages gone,
In some far summer weather,
When this same faery moonlight shone,
Sung these same songs together.

And every grassy cape we passed,
And every reedy island,
Even the bank'd cloud in the west
That loomed a sombre highland;

And you, with dewmist on your hair,
Crowned with a wreath of lilies,
Laughing like Lalage the fair
And tender-eyed like Phyllis:

I know not if 't were here at home,
By some old wizard's orders,
Or long ago in Crete or Rome
Or fair Provencal borders,

But now, as when a faint flame breaks
From out its smouldering embers,
My heart stirs in its sleep, and wakes,
And yet but half-remembers

That you and I some other time
Moved through this dream of glory,
Like lovers in an ancient rhyme,
A long-forgotten story.

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