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Long Ago
by Eugene Field (1850-1895)

I once knew all the birds that came
   And nested in our orchard trees,
For every flower I had a name---
   My friends were woodchucks, toads, and bees;
I knew where thrived in yonder glen
   What plants would soothe a stone-bruised toe---
Oh, I was very learned then,
   But that was very long ago.

I knew the spot upon the hill
   Where checkerberries could be found,
I knew the rushes near the mill
   Where pickerel lay that weighed a pound!
I knew the wood---the very tree
   Where lived the poaching, saucy crow,
And all the woods and crows knew me---
   But that was very long ago.

And pining for the joys of youth,
   I tread the old familiar spot
Only to learn this solemn truth:
   I have forgotten, am forgot.
Yet here 's this youngster at my knee
   Knows all the things I used to know;
To think I once was wise as he!---
   But that was very long ago.

I know it 's folly to complain
   Of whatsoe'er the fates decree,
Yet, were not wishes all in vain,
   I tell you what my wish should be:
I 'd wish to be a boy again,
   Back with the friends I used to know.
For I was, oh, so happy then---
   But that was very long ago!

 

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