In Divers Tones

by Charles G.D. Roberts

Edited by Tracy Ware


 

A BIRTHDAY BALLADE


 

All deserted to wind and to sun
   You have left the dear, dusky canoe,
The amber cool currents still run,
   But our paddle forgets to pursue.
   Our river wears still the rare blue,
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But its sparkle seems somehow less gay;
   It confides me this greeting for you—
Many Happy Returns of the Day!

Where’s the mirth that with morn was begun,
   Nor dreaded the dark and the dew?

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Some sweet thieves have made off with our fun!
   Would our paddles were free to pursue!
   Ah, could we but catch them anew,
Clip their wings, forbid them to stray,
   Then more blithely we’d sing than we do—
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Many Happy Returns of the Day!

Dear remembrances die, one by one,
   So cunning Time’s craft to undo!
But ours must be never undone,
   Oft again must the paddle pursue,

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   Oft the treasured impression renew!
Then, return our Acadian way,
   For our days of delight were too few—
Many Happy Returns of the Day!

L’ENVOI.
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Now an easy enigma or two
This ballade is devised to convey.
Unto you, and us lonely ones too,
Many Happy Returns of the Day!