A Lament

I hear them upbraid you,--they mingle your name
With lightness and folly and almost with shame;
And they, who have crouched at the bend of your brow,
With familiar indifference prate of you now.

Where now is the fountain of beauty and joy,
That thrilled through the heart of the care--hating boy?
With love, and with music, that fountain plays on,--
But the spirit, that basked in its freshness, is gone.

Oh! were it stern Science that led you away,
Or a flow of dark feeling that made you less gay,
I should mourn that so early the shadows were cast,
But the path might have led into sunlight at last.

Not so, now the world, with its gilding and glare,
Has bid you to pleasure, and prisoned you there;
And the blazoned saloon, and the mirth--breathing hall,
And silver--sweet flatteries, hold you in thrall:

For the friends of your boyhood--the innocent few,
Whose hearts knew you well, and whose hearts you too knew,
From their home in your breast have been forced, one by one,--
And in that bleak place can I linger alone?

I too must begone,--with those who have seen
The manifold promise of what you have been,
Though they who so loved will still gaze from afar,
If it be but to weep, when they see what you are.

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