He wears a long and solemn face
And drives the children from his place;
He doesn’t like to hear them shout
Or race and run and romp about,
And if they chance to climb his tree,
He is as ugly as can be.
If in his yard they drive a ball,
Which near his pretty flowers should fall,
He hides the leather sphere away,
Thus hoping to prevent their play.
The youngsters worry him a lot,
This sorry man who has forgot
That once upon a time, he too
The self-same mischief used to do.
The boyhood he has left behind
Has strangely vanished from his mind,
And he is old and gray and cross
For having suffered such a loss.
He thinks he never had the joy
That is the birthright of a boy.
He has forgotten how he ran,
Or to a dog’s tail tied a can,
Broke window panes, and loved to swipe
Some neighbor’s apples, red and ripe—
He thinks that always, day or night,
His conduct was exactly right.
In boys to-day he cannot see
The youngster that he used to be,
Forgotten is that by-gone day,
When he was mischievous as they.
Poor man! I’m sorry for your lot.
The best of life you have forgot.
Could you remember what you were,
Unharnessed and untouched by spur,
These youngsters that you drive away
Would be your comrades here to-day.
Among them you could gayly walk
And share their laughter and their talk;
You could be young and blithe as they,
Could you recall your yesterday.