It was the first day of census, and all through the land,
The pollster was ready....a black book in hand..
He mounted his horse for a long, dusty ride,
His book and some quills were tucked close by his side,
A long, winding ride down a road barely there,
Toward the smell of fresh bread wafting, up through the air
The woman was tired, with lines on her face,
She gave him some water as they sat at the table,
and she answered his questions the best she was able.
He asked of her children....Yes, she had quite a few,
The oldest was twenty, the youngest not two,
She held up a toddler with cheeks round and red,
His sister, she whispered, was napping in bed,
She noted each person who lived there with pride,
And she felt the faint stirrings of the wee one inside,
He noted the sex, the color, the age,
The marks from the quill soon filled up the page,
At the number of children--she nodded her head
and saw her lips quiver for the three that were dead
The places of birth she "never forgot",
Was it Kansas?or Utah? or Oregon....or not?
They came from Scotland, of that she was clear,
but, she wasn't quite sure just how long they'd been here.
They spoke of employment, of schooling and such,
They could read some, and write some, though really not much,
When the questions were answered his job there was done,
So he mounted his horse and he rode toward the sun,
WE can almost imagine his voice loud and clear,
"May God bless you all for another ten years",

NOW picture a time warp....its now you and me.
AS we search for the people on our family tree.
We squint at the census and scroll down so slow,
AS we search for that entry from long, long ago.
Could they only imagine on that long-ago day,
That the entries they made would affect us this way?
If they knew, would they wonder at the yearning we feel,
and the searching that makes them so increasingly real?
WE can hear if we listen the words they impart,
Through their blood in our veins and their voice in our heart.

Author Unknown

Long, Long Ago

Lesley Nelson-Burns
This song was written in 1833 by English songwriter and dramatist, Thomas Haynes Bayly (1797-1839), whose other songs include Gaily the Troubadour. It was not published until ten years later, after Bayly had died. The song first appeared when Rufus Griswold, editor of a Philadelphia magazine, published a collection of Bayly's poems and songs in 1843. Bayly originally named the tune The Long Ago, so it appears Griswold changed the name. It achieved instant popularity and was the most popular song in America in 1843.

Thomas Haynes Bayly was born in Bath, England on October 13, 1797 to wealthy parents. His father expected Bayly to be a lawyer, but after several years at home he went to Oxford to study for the church. His studies ended when he married a wealthy woman. They had two daughters and a son. They lived happily for six years until their son died. Bayly lost his health and faced financial ruin. He turned to writing to pay the bills. Bayly fell ill and died at the age of 42 in April of 1839.*

Bayly is also known as the source for the quote, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder." The line occurs in his song Isle of Beauty. There is some debate as to whether Bayly should be credited with the line as others had written similar sentiments. See the link to Bartlett's Quotations for the others.

Tell me the tales that to me were so dear,
Long, long ago, long, long ago,
Sing me the songs I delighted to hear,
Long, long ago, long ago,
Now you are come all my grief is removed,
Let me forget that so long you have roved.
Let me believe that you love as you loved,
Long, long ago, long ago.

Do you remember the paths where we met?
Long, long ago, long, long ago.
Ah, yes, you told me you'd never forget,
Long, long ago, long ago.
Then to all others, my smile you preferred,
Love, when you spoke, gave a charm to each word.
Still my heart treasures the phrases I heard,
Long, long ago, long ago.

Tho' by your kindness my fond hopes were raised,
Long, long ago, long, long ago.
You by more eloquent lips have been praised,
Long, long ago, long, long ago,
But, by long absence your truth has been tried,
Still to your accents I listen with pride,
Blessed as I was when I sat by your side.
Long, long ago, long ago.

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