Don’t you remember sweet Alice, Ben Bolt,
Sweet Alice whose hair was so brown,
Who wept with delight when you gave her a smile,
And trembled with fear at your frown?
In the old church-yard in the valley, Ben Bolt,
In a corner obscure and alone,
They have fitted a slab of the granite so grey,
And Alice lies under the stone.
Under the hickory tree, Ben Bolt,
Which stood at the foot of the hill,
Together we’ve lain in the noonday shade,
And listened to Appleton’s mill.
The mill-wheel has fallen to pieces, Ben Bolt,
The rafters have tumbled in,
And a quiet which crawls round the walls as you gaze
Has followed the olden din.
Do you mind of the cabin of logs, Ben Bolt,
At the edge of the pathless wood,
And the button-ball tree with its motley limbs,
Which nigh by the doorstep stood?
The cabin to ruin has gone, Ben Bolt,
The tree you would seek for in vain;
And where once the lords of the forest waved
Are grass and golden grain.
And don’t you remember the school, Ben Bolt,
With the master so cruel and grim,
And the shaded nook in the running brook
Where the children went to swim?
Grass grows on the master’s grave, Ben Bolt,
The spring of the brook is dry,
And of all the boys who were schoolmates then
There are only you and I.
There is a change in the things I loved, Ben Bolt,
They have changed from the old to the new;
But I feel in the deeps of my spirit the truth,
There never was change in you.
Twelvemonths twenty have past, Ben Bolt,
Since first we were friends–yet I hail
Your presence as a blessing, your friendship a truth,
Ben Bolt of the salt-sea gale.
Thomas Dunn English
Ben Bolt was set to music by Nelson Kneass. The song achieved great popularity and attracted many parodies.
Ben Bolt sung by Derek B. Scott
Loneliness by Russell Boyle