Ben Bolt

Original Text: 
The Select Poems of Dr. Thomas Dunn English, ed. Alice English (Newark, NJ: private subscription, 1894): 217-18. Internet Archive
1Don't you remember sweet Alice, Ben Bolt --
2    Sweet Alice whose hair was so brown,
3Who wept with delight when you gave her a smile,
4    And trembled with fear at your frown?
5In the old church-yard in the valley, Ben Bolt,
6    In a corner obscure and alone,
7They have fitted a slab of the granite so grey,
8    And Alice lies under the stone.
9Under the hickory-tree, Ben Bolt,
10    Which stood at the foot of the hill,
11Together we've lain in the noonday shade,
12    And listened to Appleton's mill.
13The mill-wheel has fallen to pieces, Ben Bolt,
14    The rafters have tumbled in,
15And a quiet which crawls round the walls as you gaze
16    Has followed the olden din.
17Do you mind of the cabin of logs, Ben Bolt,
18    At the edge of the pathless wood,
19And the button-ball tree with its motley limbs,
20    Which nigh by the doorstep stood?
21The cabin to ruin has gone, Ben Bolt,
22    The tree you would seek for in vain;
23And where once the lords of the forest waved
24    Are grass and the golden grain.
25And don't you remember the school, Ben Bolt,
26    With the master so cruel and grim,
27And the shaded nook in the running brook
28    Where the children went to swim?
29Grass grows on the master's grave, Ben Bolt,
30    The spring of the brook is dry,
31And of all the boys who were schoolmates then
32    There are only you and I.
33There is change in the things I loved, Ben Bolt,
34    They have changed from the old to the new;
35But I feel in the deeps of my spirit the truth,
36    There never was change in you.
37Twelvemonths twenty have past, Ben Bolt,
38    Since first we were friends -- yet I hail
39Your presence a blessing, your friendship a truth,
40    Ben Bolt of the salt-sea gale.
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire / Sharine Leung
RPO Edition: 
2012
Rhyme: 
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