Their schoolboy days have form’d a theme,
For nearly all the bards I know,
But mine are like a fading dream
Which happen’d three score years ago.
My memory is not the best,
While some things I would fain forget
Come like an uninvited guest,
And often cause me much regret.
I see the ghosts of murdered hours,
As they flit past in countless throngs,
They taunt me with their meager powers,
And ridicule my senseless songs.
‘Tis useless now to speculate,
Or grieve o’er that which might have been,
My failures though they have been great,
Are not the greatest I have seen.
In school I was a quiet child,
And gave my teachers little fash,
But as I grew I grew more wild,
And hasty as the lightning’s flash.
Of study I was never fond,
My school books gave me no delight,
I patronized the nearest pond,
To fish or swim by day or night.
And when the frosts of winter came,
And bound the streams in fetters tight,
It gave me pleasure all the same
To skate upon their bosom bright.
I was athletic in my way
And on my muscle went it strong,
And stood to fight or ran to play,
Regardless of the right or wrong.
In wrestling I did much excel
And lov’d to douse a boasting fop,
Nor cared I how or where we fell
Provided I fell on the top.
I loved my friends with all my might,
My foes I hated just as strong,
My friends were always in the right,
My foes forever in the wrong.
A sportsman early I became,
A sort of second Daniel Boone,
And bagg’d my share of ev’ry game
From cony, up or down, to coon.
No tawny chieftain’s swarthy son,
Was ever fonder of the chase,
Than I was of my trusty gun,
Although I had a paler face.
I shot the squirrel near his den.
The silly rabbit near her lair;
And captured ev’ry now and then,
A pheasant in my cunning snare.
And many things I think of here,
Which time forbids me now to say,
That happen’d in my wild career,
To me, since that eventful day
When my fond mother wash’d my face,
And combed my flaxen hair,
And started me in learning’s race,
And breath’d to heav’n a silent prayer,
That I might grow to man’s estate,
And cultivate my opening mind;
And not be rich or wise or great,
But gentle, true and good and kind.
My mother’s face, I see it yet,
That thoughtful face, with eyes of blue,
I trust I never shall forget
Her words of counsel, sage and true.
She left me, when she pass’d away,
More than a royal legacy,
I would not for a monarch’s sway,
Exchange the things she gave to me.
She gave me naught of sordid wealth,
But that which wealth can never be,
Her iron frame and robust health,
Are more than diadems to me.
She left to me the azure sky,
With all its countless orbs of light,
Which wonder-strike the thoughtful eye,
And beautify the dome of night.
The deep blue sea from shore to shore,
The boundless rays of solar light,
The lightnings flash, the thunders roar—
I hold them all in my own right.
And lastly that there be no lack,
Of any good thing by her given,
She left to me the shining track,
Which led her footsteps up to heaven.
(David John Scott)
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Based on Keywords: fop, skate, eventful, fash, beautify, boone, flaxen, sportsman, uninvited, douse, speculate