Oh thou, that prattling on thy pebbled way
Through my paternal vale dost stray,
Working thy shallow passage to the sea!
Oh, stream, thou speedest on
The same as many seasons gone;
But not, alas, to me
Remain the feelings that beguiled
My early road, when, careless and content,
(Losing the hours in pastimes innocent)
Upon thy banks I strayed a playful child;
Whether the pebbles that thy margin strew,
Collecting, heedlessly I threw;
Or loved in thy translucent wave
My tender shrinking feet to lave;
Or else ensnared your little fry,
And thought how wondrous skilled was I!
So passed my boyish days, unknown to pain,
Days that will ne'er return again.
It seems but yesterday
I was a child, to-morrow to be gray!
So years succeeding years steal silently away.
Not fleeter thy own current, hurrying thee,
Rolls down to the great sea.
Thither oh carry these sad thoughts; the deep
Bury them! thou, meantime, thy tenor keep,
And winding through the green-wood, cheer,
As erst, my native, peaceful pastures here.