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Turn backward, turn backward, O tide of the years
And just for an hour give back
The buds and the blossoms of earth that have died
In the heat of my life's dusty track;
Turn backward life's pages of sorrow and pain,
And give me the faith of my childhood again.


Roll backward, roll backward, O pitiless stream--
O relentless, unpitying time--
And give me once more the unquestioning trust
That I had when life's morning was mine.
Take the chill from my heart and the throb from my brain,
And give me, O give me beliefs once again!


Turn backward, O time, I'm so weary tonight;
Life's pathway so long and so drear
Stole slowly the light that once shone in my heart,
Leaving less of its gladness each year.
Turn backward, turn backward, O time, is it just
To take all our joys, leaving only distrust?


O, once I had faith in the good and the true,
I little knew then that deceit
Walked abroad in the garments of honor and truth,
Telling lies with smiles passing sweet,
Till I woke in amaze from my beautiful dream
To find that the fairest are not what they seem.


Turn backward, turn backward, if just for an hour,
O time, make me once more a child,
With all of the confidence lost since the days
When bright stories of fairies beguiled.
I know that experience teaches us well,
But O, what bright visions dissolve neath her spell!


In vain do I call to the pitiless years
That have borne my bright childhood away;
In vain do I plead for the trust and the faith
That have died upon life's desert way;
The chill and the scorn of my heart yet remain,
And childhood's sweet trusting comes not back again.