Musings by William Barnes

I’m watching Star Trek: Picard on the Paramount+ Channel or whatever the marketing boys call it. The theme for this season revolves around how we as a race are always imprisoned in the past. F. Scott Fitzgerald most famously caught this idea with his last sentence to The Great Gatsby:

“And so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

But poets have been going round with this for centuries. William Barnes made his contribution in the 1800’s with lines like this, “The night comes on to star the sky.” Yikes! Scary impressive.


by William Barnes (1801 – 1886)

Before the falling summer sun
The boughs are shining all as gold,
And down below them waters run,
As there in former years they roll’d;
The poolside wall is glowing hot,
The pool is in a dazzling glare,
And makes it seem as, ah! ’tis not,
A summer when my life was fair.

The evening, gliding slowly by,
Seems one of those that long have fled;
The night comes on to star the sky
As then it darken’d round my head.
A girl is standing by yon door,
As one in happy times was there,
And this day seems, but is no more,
A day when all my life was fair.

We hear from yonder feast the hum
Of voices, as in summers past;
And hear the beatings of the drum
Again come throbbing on the blast.
There neighs a horse in yonder plot,
As once there neigh’d our petted mare,
And summer seems, but ah! is not
The summer when our life was fair.

Reading by Prabir Guha



About thomasfarley01

Freelance writer specializing in outdoor subjects, particularly rocks, gems and minerals.
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