Antiquarian Anabaptist

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

When you and I were young, Maggie

I wandered today to the hill, Maggie,
To watch the scene below,
The creek and the creaking old mill, Maggie,
As we used to, long ago.

The green grove is gone from the hill, Maggie,
Where first the daisies sprang,
The creaking old mill is still, Maggie,
Since you and I were young.

And now we are aged and grey, Maggie,
And the trials of life nearly done,
Let us sing of the days that are gone, Maggie,
When you and I were young.

A city so silent and lone, Maggie,
Where the young and the gay and the best,
In polished white mansions of stone, Maggie,
Have each found a place of rest.

Is built where the birds used to play, Maggie,
And join in the songs that were sung.
For we sang as gay as they, Maggie,
When you and I were young.

And now we are aged and grey, Maggie,
The trials of life are nearly done.
Let us sing of the days that are gone, Maggie,
When you and I were young.

-George W. Johnson

This poem was written 150 years ago, in 1864, when George Johnson was 25 and his wife Maggie (Margaret Clark) was 23. Perhaps George already knew that their time together would bew short – Maggie died May 12, 1865. George did live to be old and grey, he died in 1917. The poem was set to music in 1866 and was a favourite of barbershop quartets for many years.

The hill in the poem is the Niagara escarpment overlooking the present day city of Hamilton, Ontario. The mill stood on Twenty Mile Creek.

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