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United States Department of Labor
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The pale moon sends its mellow silvery beams
In faintly glowing shimmers through the trees,
Casting the shadows of the limbs and leaves
In myriad forms, changing with every pulse
Of passing fancy that the mind creates.
Soothing the soul to sleep with that quiet peace
That fills its slumbers with refreshing dreams
And memories of the past. We live again
The boyhood days with every escapade
And petty prank — our quarrels with our friends —
Forgiven in a day — the pretty petite form
And dreamy eyes of her for whom we first
Conceived the subtle sentiment of love;
And all the likes and dislikes of our youth,
Passing before us in the softened light
Formed by the moonbeams and the lapse of time.
Again we play the truant from the school,
And wander off with some congenial mate
Into the woods, where flows the mountain brook
In tiny foaming cataracts where lurks
The speckled trout. With angle worms for bait,
A slim birch sapling fitted for a rod
And twine well knotted to the pole and hook,
We seek with patience worthy of success,
To lure the wary beauties to their death.
And when at last we land a hungry fish,
Less cautious than the rest, that takes the bait
Our crude art has prepared, we leap with joy,
And all the dread we had of going home;
The fear of father's vigorous reproof;
The earnest admonition mother gave,
The angry master waiting at the school;
Are driven from our thoughts, lost for a time,
Or buried in the raptures of the hour.
We stroll once more across the pasture field
Dotted with daisies, common as the grass
That grows beneath our feet. Nor do we see
The beauty of their bloom until in later years,
Far distant from the spot whereon they grew,
In some vast town where flowers are seldom seen
Fresh from the fields, when slowly on our minds
The truth begins to dawn with growing force
That these pale petals with a heart of gold,
Passed by unheeded in the country fields,
Are worthy of a place in men's esteem
Who love pure beauty just for beauty's sake.
The sultry summer day we spend with glee
Lolling about or swimming in the hole
That deepens in the stream above the spot
Where creek and river join. The hot sun glares
Upon our naked forms and burns the skin
'Till crimson blisters raise upon our backs.
We heed it not until the chafing clothes,
Erstwhile put on, reminds us of the truth
That no great pleasure ever comes to man
That does not bring its counterpart of pain.
We fear to tell the torture we endure
'Till night comes on and mother finds it out.
Allays the pain with buttermilk or cream
Cool from the cellar, while she gently scolds
And sends us sobbing early off to bed.
And thus the moonbeams play upon the mind,
Rousing to life the sentimental traits
Long dormant from disuse or other cause.
That man is hard beyond the wont of men
Who does not dream of better things to be
Or send his feelings floating o'er the past
Beneath the pleasant magic of the moon.