Oh! a wonderful stream is the river of Time,
As it runs through the realm of tears,
With a faultless rhythm, and musical rhyme,
And a broader sweep, and a surge sublime,
And blends with the ocean of years!

How the winters are drifting like flakes of snow,
And summers like buds between,
And the ears in the sheaf, — so they come and they go
On the river’s breast with its ebb and flow,
As it glides in the shadow and sheen!

There’s a magical Isle in the river of Time
Where the softest of airs are playing;
There’s a cloudless sky, and a tropical clime,
And a song as sweet as a vesper chime,
And the Junes with the roses are staying.

And the name of this Isle is the Long Ago,
And we bury our treasures there, —
There are brows of beauty, and bosoms of snow,
There are heaps of dust, — but we loved them so!
There are trinkets, and tresses of hair.

There are fragments of song that nobody sings,
And a part of an infant’s prayer;
There’s a lute unswept, and a harp without strings,
There are broken vows and pieces of rings,
And the garments she used to wear.

There are hands that are waved when the fairy shore
By the mirage is lifted in air,
And we sometimes hear, through the turbulent roar,
Sweet voices heard in the days gone before,
When the wind down the river is fair.

Oh! remembered for aye be that blessed Isle,
All the day of life till the night;
When the evening comes with its beautiful smile,
And our eyes are closing to slumber awhile,
May that “Greenwood” of soul be in sight!

Philo Henderson

Philo Henderson (1823-1852) was a North Carolina poet.

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