Delivered at the Centennial Celebration at Bethel, August 26, 1874, by Jacob Brown, Esq. of Illinois
By barren rocks and deeply tangled wildwood,
Mid valley, lake and glen;
And boys grew into men.
Anear the corner of this quaint old building,
With windows all arow;
That sturdy and that stately growing elm-tree
Grew thirty years ago.
The Androscoggin still is flowing sea-ward,
As thirty years ago;
Oft down those gliding waters just at night-fall
I've paddled my canoe.
Westward winds that little silvery brooklet,
In tune to my poor rhyme;
Life's wreck-besprinkled waters still are surging,
Against the shores of time.
I look adown the lane from this old building,
Down to the dusty street;
But gone are all the bright familiar faces
Of those I used to meet.
And stricken dumb is my poor heart with sadness,
Bright boyhood's dreams are fled,
Flowers that bloomed by every wayside,
All are withered and dead.
Poor third soul! The dead may bury their dead.
As soldier brave in flight;
Conquer the red-hot battles of life and learn
To win and love the right.
Thanks to Bill West for hosting the Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge. Check out is his blog for more poems and genealogy at West in New England.