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No index tells the mighty worth

Of a little baby's quiet breath— A soft, unceasing metronome,

Patient and faithful until death.

Nobody weighed the baby's soul,

For here on earth no weights there be
That could avail; God only knows
Its value in eternity.

Only eight pounds to hold a soul
That seeks no angel's silver wing,
But shrines it in this human guise,
Within so frail and small a thing!

Oh, mother! laugh your merry note,
gay and glad, but don't forget
From baby's eyes looks out a soul
That claims a home in Eden yet.

Ethel Lynn Beers (1827-1879]



A BABY'S feet, like seashells pink,

Might tempt, should heaven see meet,
An angel's lips to kiss, we think,-
A baby's feet.

Like rose-hued sea-flowers toward the heat
They stretch and spread and wink
Their ten soft buds that part and meet.

No flower-bells that expand and shrink
Gleam half so heavenly sweet,
As shine on life's untrodden brink,-
A baby's feet.

Little Feet



A baby's hands, like rosebuds furled,
Where yet no leaf expands,

Ope if you touch, though close upcurled,-
A baby's hands.

Then, even as warriors grip their brands
When battle's bolt is hurled,

They close, clenched hard like tightening bands.

No rosebuds yet by dawn impearled
Match, even in loveliest lands,
The sweetest flowers in all the world, —
A baby's hands.


A baby's eyes, ere speech begin,
Ere lips learn words or sighs,

Bless all things bright enough to win
A baby's eyes.

Love while the sweet thing laughs and lies,
And sleep flows out and in,

Sees perfect in them Paradise!

Their glance might cast out pain and sin,

Their speech make dumb the wise,

By mute glad godhead felt within

A baby's eyes.

Algernon Charles Swinburne [1837-1909]


Two little feet, so small that both may nestle
In one caressing hand,-

Two tender feet upon the untried border

Of life's mysterious land.

Dimpled, and soft, and pink as peach-tree 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 heavier burden,
And walks the harder road.

Love, for a while, will make the path before them
All dainty, smooth, and fair, -

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Will cull 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?

How will they be allured, betrayed, deluded,
Poor little untaught feet!

Into what dreary mazes will they wander,
What dangers will they meet?

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.


The Babie

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?

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.



NAE shoon to hide her tiny taes,
Nae stockin' on her feet;

Her supple ankles white as snaw,
Or early blossoms sweet.

Her simple dress o' sprinkled pink,
Her double, dimplit chin,

Her puckered lips, an' baumy mou',
With na ane tooth within.

Her een sae like her mither's een,
Twa gentle, liquid things;
Her face is like an angel's face,-
We're glad she has nae wings.

She is the buddin' of our luve,
A giftie God gied us:

We maun na luve the gift owre weel,
"Twad be nae blessin' thus.

We still maun luve the Giver mair,

An' see Him in the given;

An' sae she'll lead us up to Him,
Our babie straight frae Heaven.

Jeremiah Eames Rankin [1828-1904]


SOFT little hands that stray and clutch,
Like fern fronds curl and uncurl bold,
While baby faces lie in such

Close sleep as flowers at night that fold,
What is it you would clasp and hold,
Wandering outstretched with wilful touch?
O fingers small of shell-tipped rose,
How should you know you hold so much?
Two full hearts beating you inclose,

Hopes, fears, prayers, longings, joys and woes,-
All yours to hold, O little hands!

More, more than wisdom understands

And love, love only knows.

Laurence Binyon [1869


BARTHOLOMEW is very sweet,

From sandy hair to rosy feet.

Bartholomew is six months old,

And dearer far than pearls or gold.

Bartholomew has deep blue eyes,
Round pieces dropped from out the skies.

Bartholomew is hugged and kissed:

He loves a flower in either fist.

Bartholomew's my saucy son:

No mother has a sweeter one!

Norman Gale [1862


My child came to me with the equinox,
The wild wind blew him to my swinging door,
With flakes of tawny foam from off the shore,
And shivering spindrift whirled across the rocks.
Flung down the sky, the wheeling swallow-flocks

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