Poet Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton

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Old Friends

HOW are they waned and faded from our hearts,
The old companions of our early days!
Of all the many loved, which name imparts
Regret when blamed, or rapture at its praise?
What are their several fates, by Heaven decreed,
They of the jocund heart, and careless brow?
Alas! we scarcely know and scarcely heed,
Where, in this world of sighs, they wander now.

See, how with cold faint smile, and courtly nod,
They pass, whom wealth and revelry divide-
Who walked together to the house of God,
Read from one book, and rested side by side;
No look of recognition lights the eye
Which laughingly hath met that fellow-face;
With careless hands they greet and wander by,
Who parted once with tears and long embrace.

Oh, childhood! blessed time of hope and love,
When all we knew was Nature's simple law,
How may we yearn again that time to prove,
When we looked round, and loved whate'er we saw.
Now dark suspicion wakes, and love departs,
And cold distrust its well-feigned smile displays;
And they are waned and faded from our hearts,
The old companions of our early days!

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