by Daniel Webster Davis
Many poets great and gifted whom the muse's touch had blessed,
Have sung in rhythmic measure, at the spirit's high behest,
Of the days of childish glory, free from sorrow and from pain,
When all was joy and pleasure, and wished them back again,
But, somehow, when my mind turns back to sing in joyous lays,
I remember great discomforts, in my childhood's happy days.
Why, my earliest recollections are of pains and colics sore,
And the meanest kinds of medicines the grown folks down would pour,
Ipecac and paregoric, and though I hard would kick
They still would dose and physic " Cause the baby must be sick! "
When I think of this how can I sing a song in joyous lays,
And speak in tones of rapture of my childhood's happy days.
Off to school I then was started and the simple rule of three
Was as hard as now quadratics or geometry's to me:
And then the awful thrashings, with a paddle at the school,
And again at home with switches if I broke the simplest rule,
Oh, my life was one vast torment, so, of course I'm bound to praise
The time that poet's nickname " our childhood's happy days. "
On a cold and snowy morning, when lying snug in bed,
" You Webster " was the sound I heard, and wished that I was dead;
For I knew I had to make the fires, bring water, and cut wood,
And then, perhaps, I might have chance to get a bit of food,
When off to school I trotted: these were the pleasant ways,
In which I spent that festive time, my childhood's happy days.
Father's breeches, cut to fit me, was, of course, the proper thing,
And no where would they touch me, my one " gallus " was a string,
I couldn't tell the front from back-part, and my coat of navy blue,
So variously was mended, it would match the rainbow's hue;
'Twill do all right for rich white boys to sing those merry lays,
But the average little " Jap " fared tough, in childhood's happy days.
I had a tender place where I couldn't bear the comb to touch,
I'd jump three feet when tested, at last I cried so much
Mother said that she would cut it, oh, fate! to see me then,
My head was picked by dull shears as if some turkey hen
Had gotten in his cruel work, and the boys, with jolly ways
Hallowed " buzzard " when they saw me in my childhood's happy days.
In the evening holding horses, selling papers — " Evening News, "
To earn an honest penny, for the folks at home to use,
Yet, of course I had my pleasures, stealing sugar, playing ball,
But I can not go in raptures o'er that season after all,
And, we repeat our childhood, and all life's sterner ways
Are mixed with rain and sunshine, as were childhood's happy days.
Still I find that life's one " hustle " from the cradle to the tomb,
With occasional rays of sunshine to lighten up the gloom.
And if we can help a brother, and mix our cares with joys,
We'll find old age as happy as the days when we were boys;
And above may sing in rapture heavenly songs of love and praise,
When at last our bark is anchored there to spend our happiest days.
Last updated March 22, 2023