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"Tick, tick, tick," for many a long, long year
The old clock has welcomed the birth of the hours
And mourned when their end drew near,
And still it sings its changeless tune, the same note o'er and o'er
But its language is changed for it tells me today
That I am a child no more,
And the message is not an unwelcome one
For the real race is only begun
And yet the old clock's settled decree
Wakes the solemn voices of Memory
And a sober coloring dims the light
As a rainbow of childhood fades from sight.
Where has it gone and when did it go?
The glimmering tints in that transient bow
Have melted away in some dreamland sea
But its image still lives in memory
And comes and comes and comes again
In shapes of pleasure and shapes of pain;
For childhood is not all gladness and joy
But purest gold mixed with base alloy,
And children's troubles to them are as real
As the greatest trials their elders feel.


"Tick, tick, tick," hark! the children's voices float
And intrude on that well known note,
Out in the sunshine they laugh and leap
While the old clock and I our vigil keep
O'er the old-time dreamings cold and dead,
O'er the joys and sorrows of moments fled,
O'er thoughts of forgotten Summer-times,
O'er Winters that came with their Christmas chimes,
O'er friends and farewells, o'er smiles and tears
And the many phases of by-gone years;
They are gone but the future shines brightly yet
To illumine my path and I will not let
The regret for my loss undervalue my gain
For well I know though Youth's sun may wane
There is work in which old and young can engage
And blessings alike for youth and old age.
Childhood like a rippling brooklet speeds
Through a tangled meadow of flowers and weeds,
Then swells to a deeper, broader tide
And the creek rushes down to the mountain side
And grows to a river broad and deep
Where the song of the creek and brooklet sleep
Swallowed up in the voice of a mighty flood,
As the full blown rose absorbs the bud,
And gaining more depth and sublimity
'Till lost in the ocean--eternity.


"Tick, tick, tick," my old, old friend's voice is still clear
Though for many, many a year
That same solemn voice has warned the gay
That the moments were swiftly gliding away,
Has tolled the refrain of the funeral knell,
Has echoed the sound of the marriage bell,
Has chanted from dawn 'till the shadows creep
And kept faithful watch when the house was asleep.
"Tick, tick, tick, be quick, be quick, be quick
What is to be done must be done in haste
There is not a single moment to waste
For though time may seem to drag slowly on
Before you will know it, time will be gone
And then comes eternity."
Thus the old clock seems to speak to me
And then in a deeper tone repeats,
"How swiftly the little brooklet fleets
Childhood, sweet childhood can come no more
Look for the flowers on the river's shore."
But a new thought thrills me, the old clock's voice.