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The Song of Yesterday

But yesterday 
I looked away 
O'er happy lands, where sunshine lay 
In golden blots, 
Inlaid with spots 
Of shade and wild forget-me-nots.
My head was fair With flaxen hair, And fragrant breezes, faint and rare, And, warm with drouth From out the south, Blew all my curls across my mouth.
And, cool and sweet, My naked feet Found dewy pathways through the wheat; And out again Where, down the lane, The dust was dimpled with the rain.
II But yesterday! -- Adream, astray, From morning's red to evening's dray, O'er dales and hills Of daffodils And lorn sweet-fluting whippoorwills.
I knew nor cares Nor tears nor prayers -- A mortal god, crowned unawares With sunset -- and A scepter-wand Of apple-blossoms in my hand! The dewy blue Of twilight grew To purple, with a star or two Whose lisping rays Failed in the blaze Of sudden fireflies through the haze.
III But yesterday I heard the lay Of summer birds, when I, as they With breast and wing, All quivering With life and love, could only sing.
My head was leant Where, with it, blent A maiden's, o'er her instrument; While all the night, From vale to height, Was filled with echoes of delight.
And all our dreams Were lit with gleams Of that lost land of reedy streams, Along whose brim Forever swim Pan's lilies, laughing up at him.
IV But yesterday! .
O blooms of May, And summer roses -- where away? O stars above; And lips of love, And all the honeyed sweets thereof! -- O lad and lass, And orchard pass, And briered lane, and daisied grass! O gleam and gloom, And woodland bloom, And breezy breaths of all perfume! -- No more for me Or mine shall be Thy raptures -- save in memory, -- No more -- no more -- Till through the Door Of Glory gleam the days of yore.

Poem by James Whitcomb Riley
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