The Land of Used to Be

by James Whitcomb Riley


AND where's the Land of Used-to-be, does little baby wonder?

Oh, we will clap a magic saddle over papa's knee,

And ride away around the world, and in and out and under,

The whole of all the golden sunny summer-time, and see!

Leisurely and lazy-like we'll jostle on our journey,

And let the pony bathe his hooves and cool them in the dew,

As he sidles down the shady way, and lags along the ferny

And the green grassy edges of the lane we travel through.

And then we'll canter on to catch the bubble of the thistle,

As it bumps among the butterflies, and glimmers down the sun,

To leave us laughing, all content to hear the robin whistle,

Or guess what Katydid is saying little Katy's done.

And pausing here a minute, where we hear the squirrel chuckle

As he darts from out the underbrush and scampers up the tree,

We will gather buds and locust-blossoms, leaves and honeysuckle,

To wreathe around our foreheads, riding into Used-to-be;

For here's the very rim of it that we go swinging over—

Don't you hear the fairy bugles, and the tinkle of the bells?

And see the baby bumble-bees that tumble in the clover,

And dangle from the tilted pinks and tipsy pimpernels?

And don't you see the merry faces of the daffodillies,

And the jolly johnny-jump-ups, and the buttercups a-glee,

And the low, lolling ripples ring around the water-lilies,

All greeting us with laughter to the Land of Used-to-be?

And here among the blossoms of the blooming vines and grasses,

With a haze forever hanging in a sky forever blue,

And with a breeze from over seas to kiss us as it passes,

We will romp around forever as the little fairies do;

For all the elves of earth and air are swarming here together—

The prankish Puck, king Oberon, and queen Titania too;

And dear old Mother Goose herself, as sunny as the weather,

Comes dancing down the dewy walks to welcome me and you!