Thursday, August 18, 2016


Mount Toppin is located in Preble township, New York, near center of this 1923 photo.
A view of Mt. Toppen from Little York Lake.
The Cortland Democrat, Friday, December 16, 1892.



To dream of my childhood is pleasant, how pleasant!
  'Tis pleasure of heart, and 'tis pleasure of brain;
To stand on Mount Toppin, and gaze on its wildwood,
  And drink the sweet sap of its maples again;
'Tis a dream o'er the chasm of time now returning,
  Commingled with memories of scenes that were sad;
With my heart full of yearning, I sigh in the gloaming,
  For the days of my childhood, when I was a lad.

O, those days in the summer, 'mid sweet scented meadows,
  Where I roamed with my playmates, and dreamt not of care,
Come flitting like shadows; and effulgent in sunshine
  Were those innocent pleasures, I found everywhere;
Like the fragrance of flowers are the memories of boyhood,
  And the life on the farm, with my heart full of joy,
But alas, what a change I see at each footstep;
  From the scenes as I found them, when I was a boy.

The chill of the autumn, that turns sere and yellow
  The verdure of springtime, has touched with its blight,
The trees in the forest, the flowers and the clover;
  And the bright hues of falltime appeal to the sight,
Like the sunset of life, with its slow-fading glories;
  The scene is entrancing, and I gaze on in joy,
But my mind becomes sad, when I think of the missed ones
  That made my heart glad when I was a boy.

The land is the same, and the fruit in the orchard
  As fragrant in odor, as juicy and red,
But the trees tell of seasons, of winters and summers,
  As plainly as silver marks time on the head;
And the little red house, where our grandmother lived,
  Where we saw her, and loved her, and closed her dear eyes,
Speaks aloud from its ruin, a warning to mortals,
  Of the short span of life, with its tears and its sighs.

As I pass up the lane to the house at its ending,
  I see now no sign of life that was there;
The rooms are deserted, the tenants have vanished,
  And chaos reigns boldly o'er all that was fair;
And those faces, that welcomed my coming so sweetly,
  Those dear ones I loved so, where are they to-night?
Like the leaves in the wind have they scattered and parted,
  And many, too many, have passed from our sight.

The walls that were wont to reflect the fire's shadows,
  Stare coldly in blankness, so painful to see;
And the old attic bedroom, where I slept in sweet slumber,
  Has scarcely a feature familiar to me.
The cradle, the show shoes, the trunks, and the boxes,
  Have gone with the voices, so sweet to my ear;
And hushed is the kitten, and the dogs earnest barking,
  And the sounds once familiar, I now long to hear.

The havoc of time has shattered this household,
  And I turn from the house, with a heart full of pain,
But my mind wanders back to the scene of my childhood,
  And the tears flow freely, as my thoughts turn again,
To the loved ones, now sleeping, 'mid mosses, and wildflowers,
  That makes the old farm a sweet memory;
Mount Toppin, thy pleasures have faded forever,
  Tho' my heart, ever faithful, clings kindly to thee.

Click this webpage for another poem by a native poet about the Tioughnioga River and Mount Toppin:


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