Oh! dear to Memory are those Hours

Oh ! dear to memory are those hours
When every pathway led to flowers;
When sticks of peppermint possessed
A sceptre's power o'er the breast,
And heaven was round us while we fed
On rich ambrosial gingerbread.
I bless the days of infancy,
When, stealing from a mother's eye,
Elysian happiness was found
On that celestial field, the ground;
When we were busied, hands and hearts,
In those important things, dirt tarts.
Don't smile, for sapient, full-grown man,
Oft cogitates some mighty plan;
And, spell-bound by the bubble dream,
He labors till he proves the scheme
About as useful and as wise
As manufacturing dirt pies:
There's many a change on Folly's bells
Quite equals mud and oyster shells.

Then shone the meteor rays of youth,
Eclipsing quite the lamp of truth;
And precious those bright sunbeams were
That dried all tears, dispersed all care;
That shed a stream of golden joy,
Without one atom of alloy.
Oh! ne'er in mercy strive to chase
Such dazzling phantoms from their place!
However trifling, mean, or wild,
The deeds may seem of youth or child,
While they still leave untarnished soul,
The iron rod of stern control
Should be but gentle in its sway,
Nor rend the magic veil away.

I doubt if it be kind or wise
To quench the light in opening eyes,
By preaching fallacy and wo
As all that we can meet below.
I ne'er respect the ready tongue
That augurs sorrow to the young;
That aptly plays a sybil's part,
To promise nightshade to the heart.
Let them exult! their laugh and song
Are rarely known to last too long.
Why should we strive with cynic frown
To knock their fairy castles down?
We know that much of pain and strife
Must be the common lot of life:
We know the world is dark and rough,
But time betrays that soon enough!
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