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Cooing, and laughter, and gurgles, and cries,
Dimples for tenderest kisses,

Chaos of hopes, and of raptures, and sighs,
Chaos of fears and of blisses,

Last year, like all years, the rose and the thorn;
This year a wilderness maybe;

But heaven stooped under the roof on the morn
That it brought them only a baby.

Harriet Prescott Spofford [1835


"I HAVE no name;

I am but two days old."

What shall I call thee?

"I happy am,

Joy is my name."

Sweet joy befall thee!

Pretty joy!

Sweet joy, but two days old.

Sweet joy I call thee;

Thou dost smile,

I sing the while;

Sweet joy befall thee!

William Blake (1757-1827]


From "At the Back of the North Wind "

WHERE did you come from, baby dear?
Out of the everywhere into the here.

Where did you get those eyes so blue?
Out of the sky as I came through.

What makes the light in them sparkle and spin?

Some of the starry spikes left in.

Where did you get that little tear?
I found it waiting when I got here.

Strange Lands

What makes your forehead so smooth and high?
A soft hand stroked it as I went by.

What makes your cheek like a warm white rose?
I saw something better than any one knows.

Whence that three-cornered smile of bliss?
Three angels gave me at once a kiss.

Where did you get this pearly ear?

God spoke, and it came out to hear.

Where did you get those arms and hands?
Love made itself into bonds and bands.

Feet, where did you come, you darling things?
From the same box as the cherubs' wings.

How did they all just come to be you?
God thought about me, and so I grew.

But how did you come to us, you dear?

God thought about you, and so I am here.

George Macdonald [1824-1905]


WHERE do you come from, Mr. Jay?

"From the land of Play, from the land of Play." And where can that be, Mr. Jay?

"Far away-far away."

Where do you come from, Mrs. Dove?

"From the land of Love, from the land of Love."

And how do you get there, Mrs. Dove?

"Look above-look above."

Where do you come from, Baby Miss?

"From the land of Bliss, from the land of Bliss." And what is the way there, Baby Miss?

"Mother's kiss-mother's kiss."

Laurence Alma-Tadema [18



You sleep upon your mother's breast,
Your race begun,

A welcome, long a wished-for Guest,
Whose age is One.

A Baby-Boy, you wonder why
You cannot run;

You try to talk-how hard you try!—
You're only One.

Ere long you won't be such a dunce:
You'll eat your bun,

And fly your kite, like folk who once
Were only One.

You'll rhyme and woo, and fight and joke,
Perhaps you'll pun!

Such feats are never done by folk
Before they're One.

Some day, too, you may have your joy,
And envy none;

Yes, you, yourself, may own a Boy,
Who isn't One.

He'll dance, and laugh, and crow; he'll do
As you have done:

(You crown a happy home, though you
Are only One.)

But when he's grown shall you be here
To share his fun,

And talk of times when he (the Dear!)
Was hardly One?

Dear Child, 'tis your poor lot to be
My little Son;

I'm glad, though I am old, you see,-
While you are One.

Frederick Locker-Lampson (1821-1895]

To a New-Born Child

TO A NEW-BORN CHILD SMALL traveler from an unseen shore, By mortal eye ne'er seen before,

To you, good-morrow.

You are as fair a little dame

As ever from a glad world came
To one of sorrow.

We smile above you, but you fret;
We call you gentle names, and yet
Your cries redouble.

"Tis hard for little babes to prize
The tender love that underlies

A life of trouble.

And have you come from Heaven to earth?
That were a road of little mirth,

A doleful travel.

"Why did I come?" you seem to cry,

But that's a riddle you and I

Can scarce unravel.

Perhaps you really wished to come,
But now you are so far from home
Repent the trial.

What! did you leave celestial bliss
To bless us with a daughter's kiss?
What self-denial!

Have patience for a little space,

You might have come to a worse place,
Fair Angel-rover.

No wonder now you would have stayed,
But hush your cries, my little maid,
The journey's over.

For, utter stranger as you are,
There yet are many hearts ajar

For your arriving,

And trusty friends and lovers true
Are waiting, ready-made for you,

Without your striving.


The earth is full of lovely things,
And if at first you miss your wings,
You'll soon forget them;

And others, of a rarer kind

Will grow upon your tender mind-
If you will let them-

Until you find that your exchange
Of Heaven for earth expands your range

E'en as a flier,

And that your mother, you and I,

If we do what we should, may fly

Than Angels higher.

Cosmo Monkhouse [1840-1901]


CHEEKS as soft as July peaches,
Lips whose dewy scarlet teaches
Poppies paleness-round large eyes
Ever great with new surprise,

Minutes filled with shadeless gladness,

Minutes just as brimmed with sadness,
Happy smiles and wailing cries,
Crows and laughs and tearful eyes,
Lights and shadows swifter born
Than on wind-swept Autumn corn,

Ever some new tiny notion
Making every limb all motion—

Catching up of legs and arms,

Throwings back and small alarms,
Clutching fingers-straightening jerks,
Twining feet whose each toe works,

Kickings up and straining risings,

Mother's ever new surprisings,

Hands all wants and looks all wonder

At all things the heavens under,
Tiny scorns of smiled reprovings
That have more of love than lovings,

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