My childhood’s home I see again,
And sadden with the view;
And still, as memory crowds my brain,
There’s pleasure in it too.
O Memory! thou midway world
‘Twixt earth and paradise,
Where things decayed and loved ones lost
In dreamy shadows rise,
And, freed from all that’s earthly vile,
Seem hallowed, pure, and bright,
Like scenes in some enchanted isle,
All bathed in liquid light.
As dusky mountains please the eye,
When twilight chases day;
As bugle-notes that, passing by,
In distance die away;
As leaving some grand waterfall,
We, lingering, list its roar—
So memory will hallow all
We’ve known, but know no more.
Near twenty years have passed away
Since here I bid farewell
To woods and fields, and scenes of play,
And playmates loved so well.
Where many were, how few remain
Of old familiar things;
But seeing them, to mind again
The lost and absent brings.
The friends I left that parting day,
How changed, as time has sped!
Young childhood grown, strong manhood gray,
And half of all are dead.
I hear the loved survivors tell
How nought from death could save,
Till every sound appears a knell,
And every spot a grave.
I range the fields with pensive tread,
And pace the hollow rooms;
And feel (companion of the dead)
I’m living in the tombs.
But here’s an object more of dread
Than ought the grave contains—
A human form with reason fled,
While wretched life remains.
Poor Matthew! Once of genius bright,
A fortune-favored child—
Now locked for aye, in mental night,
A haggard mad-man wild.
Poor Matthew! I have ne’er forgot
When first, with maddened will,
Yourself you maimed, your father fought,
And mother strove to kill;
When terror spread, and neighbours ran,
Your dang’rous strength to bind;
And soon, a howling crazy man
Your limbs were fast confined.
How then you strove and shrieked aloud,
Your bones and sinnews bared;
And fiendish on the gazing crowd,
With burning eye-balls glared—
And begged, and swore, and wept and prayed
With maniac laughter joined—
How fearful were those signs displayed
By pangs that killed thy mind!
And when at length, tho’ drear and long,
Time soothed thy fiercer woes,
How plaintively thy mournful song,
Upon the still night rose.
I’ve heard it oft, as if I dreamed,
Far-distant, sweet, and lone—
The funeral dirge, it ever seemed
Of reason dead and gone.
To drink its strains, I’ve stole away,
All stealthily and still,
Ere yet the rising God of day
Had streaked the Eastern hill.
Air held his breath; trees, with the spell,
Seemed sorrowing angels round,
Whose swelling tears in dew-drops fell
Upon the listening ground.
But this is past; and nought remains,
That raised thee o’er the brute.
Thy piercing shrieks, and soothing strains,
Are like, forever mute.
Now fare thee well—more thou the cause,
Than subject now of woe.
All mental pangs, by time’s kind laws,
Hast lost the power to know.
And now away to seek some scene
Less painful than the last —
With less of horror mingled in
The present and the past.
The very spot where grew the bread
That formed my bones, I see.
How strange, old field, on thee to tread,
And feel I’m part of thee!
The second version of “My Childhood Home I See Again” is the revised and final version written by President Abraham Lincoln. Which is your favorite version?
Abraham Lincoln was born February 12th, 1809 in Hodgenville, Kentucky, and served as the 16th president of the United States of America. President Lincoln is forever known as the president that led the country through one of the greatest turmoils experienced, the American Civil War, as well as abolishing slavery engineered in his Emancipation Proclamation, and writer of the historic Gettysburg Address. President Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth on April 14th 1865.