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POEMS OF

LIFE.

The New-Born Babe.

NAKED on parents' knees, a new-born child,

Weeping, thou sat'st, when all around thee smiled;
So live, that, sinking to thy long sleep,
Thou then mayst smile while all around thee weep.

“Mother! to thee this day is given
A soul to keep and fit for heaven.
“Oh, watch and lead the little feet
Through thefday's toil and pain and heat

“Lest from the path they go astray,
And wander from God's fold away!

" And guide the hands that they may know No other will than His below.

“And train the heart so pure, so mild,
Into the likeness of the Child

INTO our home one blessed day

A wee sweet babe had found its way,
While through the mist of tears and pain
Sunlight fell on our hearts again!
There it lay in its tender grace, -
The wee babe in its resting-place.
The father's eye with pride and joy
Beamed as it rested on his boy!
He saw, as the years roll swift away,
And time had blanched his locks to gray,
A strong young figure guide his feet
On until life and death should meet,
And when his days on earth should close,
The loved one lay him to repose!
But what the voice within her ear,
The mother,-in whose eye a tear
Glistens and falls upon the brow
Of the babe resting by her now ?
She lifts her heart and simply says,
"O God! I thank thee, give thee praise!
She hears a voice within her ear
That breathes this lesson, low, but clear:

“Who came into a world of sin
And gave his life our souls to win!
“Heed well the charge! nor hope to plead
Thou couldst not know, thou didst not heed!"

The mother bowed her head in thought,
And then for guidance meekly sought.

Then from her lips arose this prayer:
“Do thou, O Lord, my soul prepare

To do thy will, and yield to thee
This child, at last, all stainlessly!"

- Marian Longfellow.

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Unwritten history!

Unfathomed mystery!
Yet he chuckles, and crows, and nods, and winks,
As if his head were as full of kinks
And curious riddles as any sphinx!

Warped by colic, and wet by tears,
Punctured by pins, and tortured by fears,
Our little nephew will lose two years

And he'll never know

Where the summers go;
He need not laugh, for he'll find it so.
Who can tell what a baby thinks ?
Who can follow the gossamer links

By which the manikin feels his way
Out from the shore of the great unknown,
Blind and wailing, and alone,

Into the light of day?
Out from the shore of the unknown sea,
Tossing in pitiful agony;
Of the unknown sea that reels and rolls,
Specked with the barks of little souls, –
Barks that were launched on the other side,
And slipped from heaven on an ebbing tide!

What does he think of his mother's eyes ? What does he think of his mother's hair?

What of the cradle-roof that flies Forward and backward through the air ?

What does he think of his mother's breast, Bare and beautiful, smooth and white, Seeking it ever with fresh delight,

Cup of his life, and couch of his rest?
What does he think when her quick embrace
Presses his hand and buries his face
Deep where the heart-throbs sink and swell,
With a tenderness she can never tell,

Though she murmur the words

Of all the birds,
Words she has learned to murmur well ?

Now he thinks he'll go to sleep!
I can see the shadow creep
Over his eyes in soft eclipse.
Over his brow and over his lips,
Out to his little finger-tips!
Softly sinking, down he goes!
Down he goes down he goes!
See! he's hushed in sweet repose.

- Josiah Gilbert Holland.

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Will they go stumbling blindly in the darkness

Of sorrow's tearful shades?
Or find the upland slopes of Peace and Beauty,

Whose sunlight never fades?
Will they go toiling up Ambition's summit,

The common world above?
Or in some nameless vale, securely sheltered,

Walk side by side with Love?

Some feet there be which walk life's track unwounded,

Which find but pleasant ways:
Some hearts there be to which this life is only

A round of happy days.

Dimpled, and soft, and pink as peach-trec blossoms,

In April's fragrant days,
How can they walk among the briery tangles,

Edging the world's rough ways ?
These rose-white feet, along the doubtful future,

Must bear a mother's load;
Alas! since woman has the heaviest burden,

And walks the harder road.
Love, for a while, will make the path before them

All dainty, smooth, and fair,–
Will cuil away the brambles, letting only

The roses blossom there.
But when the mother's watchful eyes are shrouded

Away from sight of men,
And these dear feet are left without her guiding,

Who shall direct them then ?

But these are few. Far more there are who wander

Without a hope or friend,
Who find their journey full of pains and losses,

And long to reach the end.

How shall it be with her, the tender stranger,

Fair-faced and gentle-eyed, Before whose unstained feet the world's rude highway

Stretches so fair and wide ?

How will they be allured, betrayed, deluded

Poor little untaught feet!
Into what dreary mazes will they wander,

What dangers will they meet?

Ah! who may read the future? For our darling

We crave all blessings sweet,
And pray that He who feeds the crying ravens,
Will guide the baby's feet.

-Anonymous.

To My Infant Son.

Thou imp of mirth and joy!
In love's dear chain so bright a link,

Thou idol of thy parents;—(Drat the boy! There goes my ink.)

TH10 happy. happy elt!

(But stop, first let me kiss away that tear) Thou tiny image of myself! (My love, he's poking peas into his ear!) Thou merry, laughing sprite, With spirits feather light, Untouched by sorrow, and unsoiled by sin ; (My dear, the child is swallowing a pin!) Thou little tricksy Puck! With antic toys so funnily bestuck, Light as the singing bird that wings the air,(The door! the door! he'll tumble down the stair!) Thou darling of thy sire! (Why, Jane, he'll set his pinafore afire!)

Thou cherub, but of earth;
Fit playfellow for fays, by moonlight pale,

In harmless sport and mirth,
(That dog will bite him, if he pulls his tail!)

Thou human humming-bee, extracting honey From every blossom in the world that blows,

Singing in youth's Elysium ever sunny, — (Another tumble! That's his precious nose!) Thy father's pride and hope ! (He'll break the mirror with that skipping-rope!)

With pure heart newly stamped from nature's mint, (Where did he learn that squint?) Thou young domestic dove ! (He'll have that ring off with another shove,) Dear nursling of the hymeneal nest! (Are these torn clothes his best ?)

Little epitome of man ! : (He'll climb upon the table, that's his plan!) Touched with the beauteous tints of dawning life, (He's got a knife !) Thou enviable being ! No storms, no clouds, in thy blue sky foreseeing,

Play on, play on,
My elfin John !

Toss the light ball, bestride the stick, -
(I knew so many cakes would make him sick !)

With fancies buoyant as the thistle-down,
Prompting the face grotesque, and antic brisk,
With many a lamb like frisk!

(He's got the scissors, snipping at your gown !) Thou pretty opening rose ! (Go to your mother, child, and wipe your nose !) Balmy and breathing music like the south, (He really brings my heart into my mouth!) Bold as the hawk, yet gentle as the dove ; (I'll tell you what, my love, (I cannot write unless he's sent above.)

Thomas Ilood.

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“But we'll be good, won't we, moder?"

And from off my lap he slid, Digging deep among the goodies

In his crimson stockings hid, While I turned me to my table,

Where a tempting goblet stood, With a dainty drink brimmed over,

Sent me by a neighbor good.

But the kitten, there before me,

With his white paw, nothing loth Sat, by way of entertainment

Slapping off the shining froth; And in not the gentlest humor

At the loss of such a treat, I confess, I rather rudely,

Thrust him out into the street.

Then, as by some sudden impulse,

Quickly ran he to the fire,
And while eagerly his bright eyes

Watched the flames go high and higher, In a brave, clear key, he shouted,

Like some lordly little elf,
Santa Caus, come down de chinney,

Make my moder ’have herself." “I will be a good girl, Benny,”

Said I, feeling the reproof :
And straightway recalled poor Harney,

Mewing on the gallery roof.
Soon the anger was forgotten,

Laughter chased away the frown,
And they gamboled 'neath the live-oaks

Till the dusky night came down.
In my dim, fire-lighted chamber

Harney purred beneath my chair,

Then how Benny's blue eyes kindled!

Gathering up the precious store He had busily been pouring

In his tiny pinafore, With a generous look that shamed me,

And my play-worn boy beside me

Knelt to say his evening prayer. "God bess fader, God bess moder,

God bess sister,"—then a pause, And the sweet young lips devoutly

Murmured, "God bess Santa Kaus.” He is sleeping; brown and silken

Lie the lashes, long and meek,

Like caressing, clinging shadows

On his plump and peachy cheek; And I bend above him, weeping

Thankful tears, O Undefiled! For a woman's crown of glory, For the blessing of a child.

- Annie C. Ketchum.

A Thought Over a Cradle.

I

SADDEN when thou smilest to my smile,

Child of my love! I tremble to believe That o'er the mirror of that eye of blue The shadow of my heart will always pass;A heart that, from its struggle with the world, Comes nightly to thy guarded cradle home, And, careless of the staining dust it brings, Asks for its idol! Strange, that flowers of earth Are visited by every air that stirs, And drink in sweetness only, while the child That shuts within its breast a bloom for heaven May take a blemish from the breath of love, And bear the blight forever.

I have wept With gladness at the gift of this fair child! My life is bound up in her. But, oh God! Thou know'st how heavily my heart at times Bears its sweet burden; and if thou hast given To nurture such as mine this spotless flower, To bring it unpolluted unto Thee, Take Thou its love, I pray Thee! Give it lightThough, following the sun, it turn from me!But by the chord thus wrung and by the light Shining about her, draw me to my childi And link us close, oh God, when near to heaven !

-N. P. Willis.

The Bald-Headed Tyrant.

No thought of trouble, no hint of care;
Like a dream of pleasure the days fled by,

And Peace had folded her pinions there.
But one day there joined in our household band
A bald-headed tyrant from No-man's-land.
Oh, the despot came in the dead of night,

And no one ventured to ask him why;
Like slaves we trembled before his might,

Our hearts stood still when we heard him cry; For never a soul could his power withstand, That bald-headed tyrant from No-man’s-land. He ordered us here, and he sent us there

Though never a word could his small lips speak – With his toothless gums and his vacant stare,

And his helpless limbs so frail and weak, Till I cried, in a voice of stern command, “Go up, thou bald-head from No man's-land.”

But his abject slaves they turned on me;

Like the bears in Scripture, they'd rend me there. The while they worshiped with bended knee

The ruthless wretch with the missing hair, For he rules them all with relentless hand, This bald-headed tyrant from No-man's land. Then I searched for help in every clime,

For Peace had Aed from my dwelling now, Till I finally thought of old Father Time,

And low before him I made my bow. “ Wilt thou deliver me out of his hand, This bald-headed tyrant from No-man's-land ?” Old Time he looked with a puzzled stare,

And a smile came over his features grim. I'll take the tyrant under my care:

Watch what my hour-glass does to him. The veriest humbug that ever was planned, Is this same bald-head from No-man's-land.

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