Once Upon a Time.

A poem by John Hartley

When dull November's misty shroud,
All Nature's charms depress,
Flinging a damp, dark, deadening cloud,
O'er each heart's joyousness.
Our fancies quit their lighter vein,
And out from Memory's shrine,
We marshal thoughts of grief and pain,
Known, - once upon a time.

'Tis then that faces, long forgot,
In shadows reappear; -
Voices, that once we heeded not,
Come whispering in the ear;
And ghosts of friends whom once we met,
When life was in its prime,
Recall acts we would fain forget,
Done, - once upon time.

Regretfull sighs for thoughtless deeds,
That worked another wrong;
Vows that we broke, like rotten reeds
Like spectres glide along;
Tears naught avail to heal the smart,
We caused - nor deemed it crime,
Whilst selfishly we wrung a heart,
Loved, - once upon a time.

Oh, could we but, as on we go,
Care more for other's weal,
Nor deem all joys earth can bestow,
Are but for us to feel;
Then howe'er humble, howe'er poor,
Our lives would be sublime,
Nor should we dread to ponder o'er,
Days, - once upon a time.

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