Page images

The Wonder-Child

Mischiefs done with such a winning
Archness, that we prize such sinning,
Breakings dire of plates and glasses,
Graspings small at all that passes,
Pullings off of all that's able

To be caught from tray or table;
Silences-small meditations,

Deep as thoughts of cares for nations,
Breaking into wisest speeches
In a tongue that nothing teaches,
All the thoughts of whose possessing
Must be wooed to light by guessing;
Slumbers-such sweet angel-scemings,
That we'd ever have such dreamings,
Till from sleep we see thee breaking,
And we'd always have thee waking;
Wealth for which we know no measure,
Pleasure high above all pleasure,
Gladness brimming over gladness,
Joy in care-delight in sadness,
Loveliness beyond completeness,
Sweetness distancing all sweetness,
Beauty all that beauty may be
That's May Bennett, that's my baby.

William Cox Bennett (1820-1895]


"OUR little babe," each said, "shall be

Like unto thee"-"Like unto thee!"

"Her mother's"—"Nay, his father's "-"eyes," "Dear curls like thine"-but each replies,

"As thine, all thine, and naught of me."

What sweet solemnity to see

The little life upon thy knee,
And whisper as so soft it lies,-
"Our little babe!"


For, whether it be he or she,

A David or a Dorothy,

[ocr errors]

'As mother fair," or "father wise,"

Both when it's "good," and when it cries, One thing is certain,-it will be

Our little babe.

Richard Le Gallienne [1866



FRAGOLETTA, blessed one!

What think you of the light of the sun?
Do you think the dark was best,
Lying snug in mother's breast?
Ah! I knew that sweetness, too,
Fragoletta, before you!

But, Fragoletta, now you're born,
You must learn to love the morn,
Love the lovely working light,
Love the miracle of sight,

Love the thousand things to do-
Little girl, I envy you!—

Love the thousand things to see,
Love your mother, and-love me!
And some night, Fragoletta, soon,
I'll take you out to see the moon;
And for the first time, child of ours,
You shall-think of it!-look on flowers,
And smell them, too, if you are good,
And hear the green leaves in the wood
Talking, talking, all together
In the happy windy weather;
And if the journey's not too far
For little limbs so lately made,
Limb upon limb like petals laid,
We'll go and picnic in a star.

Songs for Fragoletta


Blue eyes, looking up at me,
I wonder what you really see,
Lying in your cradle there,
Fragrant as a branch of myrrh?
Helpless little hands and feet,
O so helpless! O so sweet!
Tiny tongue that cannot talk,
Tiny feet that cannot walk,
Nothing of you that can do
Aught, except those eyes of blue.
How they open, how they close!—
Eyelids of the baby-rose.

Open and shut-so blue, so wise,
Baby-eyelids, baby-eyes.


That, Fragoletta, is the rain
Beating upon the window-pane;
But lo! The golden sun appears,
To kiss away the window's tears.
That, Fragoletta, is the wind,
That rattles so the window-blind;
And yonder shining thing's a star,
Blue eyes-you seem ten times as far.
That, Fragoletta, is a bird

That speaks, yet never says a word;
Upon a cherry tree it sings,
Simple as all mysterious things;
Its little life to peck and pipe,
As long as cherries ripe and ripe,
And minister unto the need
Of baby-birds that feed and feed.
This, Fragoletta, is a flower,
Open and fragrant for an hour,
A flower, a transitory thing,
Each petal fleeting as a wing,
All a May morning blows and blows,
And then for everlasting goes.

[ocr errors]


Blue eyes, against the whiteness pressed
Of little mother's hallowed breast,

The while your trembling lips are fed,
Look up at mother's bended head,
All benediction over you-

O blue eyes looking into blue!

Fragoletta is so small,

We wonder that she lives at all

Tiny alabaster girl,

Hardly bigger than a pearl;

That is why we take such care,

Lest some one run away with her.

Richard Le Gallienne [1866–


I HAVE got a new-born sister:

I was nigh the first that kissed her.
When the nursing-woman brought her
To papa, his infant daughter,

How papa's dear eyes did glisten!
She will shortly be to christen;

And papa has made the offer,

I shall have the naming of her.

Now I wonder what would please her,

Charlotte, Julia, or Louisa?

Ann and Mary, they're too common;

Joan's too formal for a woman;

Jane's a prettier name beside;
But we had a Jane that died.
They would say, if 'twas Rebecca,
That she was a little Quaker.
Edith's pretty, but that looks
Better in old English books;

Weighing the Baby

Ellen's left off long ago;

Blanche is out of fashion now.

None that I have named as yet
Is so good as Margaret.
Emily is neat and fine;

What do you think of Caroline?
How I'm puzzled and perplexed
What to choose or think of next!
I am in a little fever

Lest the name that I should give her
Should disgrace her or defame her;-
I will leave papa to name her.


Mary Lamb [1764-1847]


"How many pounds does the baby weigh-
Baby who came but a month ago?
How many pounds from the crowning curl
To the rosy point of the restless toe?"

Grandfather ties the 'kerchief knot,
Tenderly guides the swinging weight,
And carefully over his glasses peers
To read the record, "only eight."

Softly the echo goes around:

The father laughs at the tiny girl;

The fair young mother sings the words,

While grandmother smooths the golden curl.

And stooping above the precious thing,

Nestles a kiss within a prayer,

Murmuring softly "Little one,

Grandfather did not weigh you fair."

Nobody weighed the baby's smile,

Or the love that came with the helpless one;

Nobody weighed the threads of care,

From which a woman's life is spun.

« PreviousContinue »