Friend of my youth, let us talk of old times;
   Of the long lost golden hours.
When "Winter" meant only Christmas chimes,
   And "Summer" wreaths of flowers.
Life has grown old, and cold, my friend,
   And the winter now, means death.
And summer blossoms speak all too plain
   Of the dear, dead forms beneath.

But let us talk of the past to-night;
   And live it over again,
We will put the long years out of sight,
   And dream we are young as then.
But you must not look at me, my friend,
   And I must not look at you,
Or the furrowed brows, and silvered locks,
   Will prove our dream untrue.

Let us sing of the summer, too sweet to last,
   And yet too sweet to die.
Let us read tales, from the book of the past,
   And talk of the days gone by.
We will turn our backs to the West, my friend,
   And forget we are growing old.
The skies of the Present are dull, and gray,
   But the Past's are blue, and gold.

The sun has passed over the noontide line
   And is sinking down the West.
And of friends we knew in days Lang Syne,
   Full half have gone to rest.
And the few that are left on earth, my friend
   Are scattered far, and wide.
But you and I will talk of the days
   Ere any roamed, or died.

Auburn ringlets, and hazel eyes---
   Blue eyes and tresses of gold.
Winds joy laden, and azure skies,
   Belong to those days of old.
We will leave the Present's shores awhile
   And float on the Past's smooth sea.
But I must not look at you, my friend,
   And you must not look at me.

Shells. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Milwaukee:Hauser & Storey, 1873.

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