Childhood

O dear to us ever the scenes of our childhood
The green spots we played in the school where we met
The heavy old desk where we thought of the wild-wood
Where we pored o'er the sums which the master had set
I loved the old church-school, both inside and outside
I loved the dear Ash trees and sycamore too
The graves where the Buttercups burning gold outvied
And the spire where pelitory dangled and grew.

2

The bees i' the wall that were flying about
The thistles the henbane and mallows all day
And crept in their holes when the sun had gone out
And the butterfly ceased on the blossoms to play
O dear is the round stone upon the green hill
The pinfold hoof printed with oxen — and bare
The old princess-feather tree growing there still
And the swallows and martins wheeling round in the air.

3

Where the chaff whipping outward lodges round the barn door
And the dunghill cock struts with his hens in the rear
And sings " Cockadoodle" full twenty times oer
And then claps his wings as he'd fly in the air
And there's the old cross with its round about steps
And the weathercock creaking quite round in the wind
And theres the old hedge with its glossy red heps
Where the green-linnets nest I have hurried to find —

4

— To be in time for the school or before the bell rung.
There's the odd martins nest o'er the shoemakers door
On the shoemakers chimney the Old swallows sung
That had built and sung there in the season before
Then we went to seek pooty's among the old furze
On the heaths, in the meadows beside the deep lake
And return'd with torn cloathes all covered wi' burrs
And oh what a row my fond mother would make

5

Then to play boiling kettles just by the yard door
Seeking out for short sticks and a bundle of straw
Bits of pots stand for teacups after sweeping the floor
And the children are placed under school-mistress's awe
There's one set for pussy another for doll
And for butter and bread they'll each nibble an awe
And on a great stone as a table they loll
The finest small teaparty ever you saw

6

The stiles we rode upon " all a cock-horse"
The mile a minute swee
On creaking gates — the stools o' moss
What happy seats had we
There's nought can compare to the days of our childhood
The mole-hills like sheep in a pen
Where the clodhopper sings like the bird in the wild wood
All forget us before we are men
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