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Verses by Mrs AlexanderExtract from 'A Green Hill Far Away' a life of Mrs CF Alexander:
Among the youthful companions of the Humphreys children were Maria, Sidney, and Caroline Acton who lived some two miles away in Westaston (now Kilmacurragh). Sad to relate, they all three died in their teens or early twenties. Later (in 1841) Fanny revisted Westaston and recalled the happy memories of her childhood, now tinged with sorrow, in a poem:
The Glistening Drops of Early Dew
The glistening drops of early dew
Lie late along the ancient park,
And down the stately avenue
The mingled shadows, long and dark
Of hoary beech and drooping lime,
Still linger as in olden time.
How strange that human hopes should be
More swiftly touched of sure decay;
The dewy mead, the shadowy tree
I greet again, but where are they
So fair of face, so blithe of cheer
In olden time that met me here?
I tread your glades as in a dream
Of gleesome mirth in childhood's day,
And thronging all around me seem
Departed forms, and voices gay,
With lovely chant of forest bee
And wild bird mingles joyously.
Maria, those full eyes of thine,
Sweet Sidney's pure and placid brow
Thy laugh, light-hearted Caroline
They rise, they ring to haunt me now;
'Twas but the tear that dimmed my eye,
The breeze that moaned, ye are not nigh.
A footnote says: Miss Irene Ball-Acton, who has kindly made this poem available, is the neice [sic] of Maria, Sidney and Caroline.
Maria was 16 when she died, Sidney 20 or 21, and Caroline only 12.