Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > France
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
France: Vols. IX–X.  1876–79.
 
Péronne
Recollections of Childhood
Pierre-Jean de Béranger (1780–1857)
 
Translated by William Young

O SCENES where Hope my playmate was of yore!
  At more than fifty you again I hail:
Tokens of childhood can our youth restore,
  As life feels freshened by spring’s balmy gale.
 
Hail to you, hail! friends of my youthful age;        5
  Hail, kindred, whom my grateful love hath blest:
Thanks to your kindness, in the tempest’s rage,
  Poor little bird, ’t was here I found a nest.
 
The narrow prison would I see again,
  Where, whilst his niece in budding beauty grew,        10
The old schoolmaster o’er us used to reign,
  And proudly teach us more than e’er he knew.
 
Here, more than once, apprentice was I made;
  Ever, alas! to idle ways I turned;
But when they taught me the great Franklin’s trade,        15
  I deemed that I a sage’s name had earned.
 
’T was at that age when Friendship purely grows,—
  Soil that a morning full of hope makes green:
Thence springs a tree that oft till evening’s close
  Yields, as we march, a staff on which to lean.        20
 
O scenes where Hope my playmate was of yore!
  At more than fifty you again I hail:
Tokens of childhood can our youth restore,
  As life feels freshened by spring’s balmy gale.
 
’T was in these walls that on disastrous days        25
  To me the roar of hostile cannon came.
Here hath my voice, attuned to festal lays,
  Been heard full oft to lisp my country’s name.
 
Here of my sabots was the weight forgot
  By dreaming soul, that soared on dove-like wings;        30
To feel Heaven’s thunderbolt was here my lot,
  That made me heed but little that of kings!
 
Beneath this humble roof my Reason woke,
  ’Gainst Fate to arm herself, returning here
To laugh at Glory, wreath of transient smoke,        35
  That to our eyes, like smoke, doth bring the tear.
 
Kindred and friends, who my life’s dawn did greet,
  Objects of love, that time but knitteth stronger,
Yes, yes, my cradle still to me seems sweet,
  Though she who rocked it rocks it now no longer.        40
 
O scenes where Hope my playmate was of yore!
  At more than fifty you again I hail:
Tokens of childhood can our youth restore,
  As life feels freshened by spring’s balmy gale.
 
 
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