THE AUTHOR'S EARLY LIFE - Sidney Lanier Poems


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I will write a sketch of my early life,
    It will be of childhood day,
And all who chance to read it,
    No criticism, pray.
My childhood days were happy,
    And it fills my heart with woe,
To muse o'er the days that have passed by
    And the scenes of long ago.

In the days of my early childhood,
    Kent county was quite wild,
Especially the towns I lived in
    When I was a little child.
I will not speak of my birthplace,
    For if you will only look
O'er the little poem, My Childhood Days,
    That is in this little book.

I am not ashamed of my birthright,
    Though it was of poor estate,
Many a poor person in our land
    Has risen to be great.
My parents were poor, I know, kind friends,
    But that is no disgrace;
They were honorable and respected
    Throughout my native place.

My mother was an invalid,
    And was for many a year,
And I being the eldest daughter
    Her life I had to cheer.
I had two little sisters,
    And a brother which made three,
And dear mother being sickly,
    Their care it fell on me.

My parents moved to Algoma
    Near twenty-three years ago,
And bought one hundred acres of land,
    That's a good sized farm you know.
It was then a wilderness,
    With tall forest trees abound,
And it was four miles from a village,
    Or any other town.

And it was two miles from a schoolhouse,
    That's the distance I had to go,
And how many times I traveled
    Through summer suns and winter snow.
How well do I remember
    Going to school many a morn,
Both in summer and in winter,
    Through many a heavy storm.

My heart was gay and happy,
    This was ever in my mind,
There is better times a coming,
    And I hope some day to find
Myself capable of composing.
    It was by heart's delight,
To compose on a sentimental subject
    If it came in my mind just right.

If I went to school half the time,
    It was all that I could do;
It seems very strange to me sometimes,
    And it may seem strange to you.
It was natural for me to compose,
    And put words into rhyme,
And the success of my first work
    Is this little song book of mine.

My childhood days have passed and gone,
    And it fills my heart with pain
To think that youth will nevermore
    Return to me again.
And now kind friends, what I have wrote,
    I hope you will pass o'er,
And not criticise as some have done,
    Hitherto herebefore.