Frank Dempster Sherman


An Old Song

by Frank Dempster Sherman

Oftentimes there come to me
Scraps of music-memory
That have slept, alas, how long!
In the quiet night of song.
I can mark the measured time,
I can catch the notes that rhyme,
Till it seems I almost hear
Whispered words within my ear;
Yet, for all I listen so
To them as they come and go,
Shreds of only one refrain
In my memory remain.

Long ago the song was sung,
Long ago, when I was young,
And my heart in time would beat
With the music soft and sweet.
There was something that would start
Glad emotions in my heart,
Something in the words which made
Joy grow bright and sorrow fade,
Something in the notes of joy
Giving courage to the boy
Long ago, ere he began
Dreaming of the present man.

Never comes this strain but I
Seem to feel her standing by.
Oh, that all the notes might come
Back from lips forever dumb,
So that I might render whole
This marred music of the soul!
Oh, that I again might bring
Back this song she used to sing!
I should sing it till my eyes,
Through a rift in Paradise,
Caught a vision of her face
Smiling from her dwelling-place;
I should sing it line by line
Till her lips should answer mine;
I should sing it o'er and o'er
Till I seemed a boy once more, --
Till my dream should bring in truth
Her who sang it to my youth!


Lyrics For A Lute
Copyright 1890
Boston and New York, Houghton, Mifflin, and Company