COME back, come back together,
All ye fancies of the past,
Ye days of April weather,
Ye shadows that are cast
By the haunted hours before !
Come back, come back, my childhood ;
Thou art summon'd by a spell
From the green leaves of the wild wood,
From beside the charmed well !
For Red Riding Hood, the darling,
The flower of fairy lore.
The fields were cover'd over
With colours as she went ;
Daisy, buttercup, and clover,
Below her footsteps bent.
Summer shed its shining store,
She was happy as she press'd them
Beneath her little feet ;
She pluck'd them and caress'd them ;
They were so very sweet,
They had never seem'd so sweet before,
To Red Riding Hood, the darling,
The flower of fairy lore.
How the heart of childhood dances
Upon a sunny day !
It has its own romances,
And a wide, wide world have they !
A world where phantasie is king,
Made all of eager dreaming,
When once grown up and tall ;
Now is the time for scheming,
Then we shall do them all !
Do such pleasant fancies spring
For Red Riding Hood, the darling,
The flower of fairy lore.
She seems like an ideal love,
The poetry of childhood shown,
And yet loved with a real love,
As if she were our own ;
A younger sister for the heart;
Like the woodland pheasant,
Her hair is brown and bright;
And her smile is pleasant,
With its rosy light.
Never can the memory part
With Red Riding Hood, the darling,
The flower of fairy lore.
Did the painter, dreaming
In a morning hour,
Catch the fairy seeming
Of this fairy flower ?
Winning it with eager eyes,
From the old enchanted stories,
Lingering with a long delight,
On the unforgotten glories
Of the infant sight ?
Giving us a sweet surprise
In Red Riding Hood, the darling,
The flower of fairy lore ?
Too long in the meadow staying,
Where the cowslip bends,
With the buttercups delaying
As with early friends,
Did the little maiden stay.
Sorrowful the tale for us,
We, too, loiter mid life's flowers,
A little while so glorious,
So soon lost in darker hours.
All love lingering on their way,
Like Red Riding Hood, the darling,
The flower of fairy lore.

More verses by Letitia Elizabeth Landon

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