Welcome Back

Sweet songs of nightingale and lark
That greet the golden dawn,
Or twilight deepening into dark,
By mountain, grove, or lawn;
Long days, clear nights, and balmy winds,
Fresh flowers and forest leaves,
Birds, blossoms, fruits of ruddy rinds,
New hay, and barley sheaves;
All joys of nature, sounds or sights
Of forest, stream, or plain,
Ye're welcome, welcome, welcome ever,
And welcome back again.

Fair hopes, forgotten 'mid our toils;
Sweet visions dreamed of yore,
Calm thoughts effaced in life's turmoils,
Old songs we've sung before;
Forgotten comrades, friends estranged,
Acquaintance o'er the seas,
Old feelings weakened, lost, or changed,
And youthful memories;
Pure joys of home, kind words, sweet smiles,
And sympathy in pain,
Ye're welcome, welcome, welcome ever,
And welcome back again.

For Heaven is kind and makes no stint
Of blessings, though we die;
They pass in circles, and imprint
Their footsteps as they fly.
'Tis ours to train them when begun
To keep the circle true,
And not neglect, forget, or shun
The old ones for the new.
Ne'er to the hearts that prize them well
They hold their course in vain:
They're welcome, welcome, welcome ever,
And welcome back again.
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