BETA

Stanzas, Written Upon Robert, the Son of Captain S. Shaw, of the
Royal Artillery, Now a Resident in the East Indies—a Child Five
Years of Age
.

1.

A witching child, to whom ’ tis given1
All hearts to challenge as thy due2
Thou fairest print of childhood’s Heav’n3
That ever Nature’s pencil drew !4
Delightful, as the holy hymn5
Of meek and sainted cherubim,6
And gladdening, as the fountain near7
That greets the desert’s wanderer8
Thy countenance I still behold9
Pure, as if earth, and earth’s despising,10
Composed—as if from marble cold11
Thou wert but just to life arising12
Still do I see thy silk-fring’d eyes13
With innocence and archness dawning14
Thy cheek, which health’s rich painting dyes15
With all the loveliest hues of morning16
The rose, which blushes on a skin17
Transparent as the mind within ;18
Thy mouth, whose upper lip, to smother19
Its rival, hides its under brother,20
As if too jealous to reveal21
The prisoner of its coral seal ;22
Till sund’ring, when it shows beneath23
A lip where heav’n itself might breathe24
As leaves, when by the breeze untwin’d,25
They show the downy peach behind.26

2.

Born, where the giant Ganges pours27
His streams magnificent along,28
’Mid sunny groves and golden bow’rs,29
Which breathe aloft immortal song ;30
’Mid solemn glades and thickets lorn,31
By Brachman’s worshipp’d footsteps worn ;32
And now a flow’r of Eastern birth33
Transplanted to a colder earth34
Torn from its parent genial stem35
To grace the Western diadem,36
Oh ! o’er its head, may each rough gale37
Unhurting pass with arrowy fleetness38
The gentlest breezes of the vale,39
And but the gentlest, kiss its sweetness :40
May o’er that flower some Sylph of Air41
With more than parent’s fondness hover ;42
Hang o’er its sweets with watchful care,43
And all its budding charms discover44
Unfold its beauties one by one,45
And open its blossoms to the sun.46

3.

Far, far from thee be sorrow’s blight,47
Remorse, or heart-corroding sadness ;48
Thy way may joy for ever light49
With bounding mirth and heav’nly glad-
ness
;
50
For sure thou should’st a temple be,51
From such inviolate and free52
An angel-like constructed fane,53
With nought of earthly mould or stain54
A mirror only sent from high,55
To catch the glories of the sky ;56
And sure that forehead, white as snow,57
That smooth and yet unwrinkled brow58
That face eternally serene59
That eye where Eden’s self is seen60
To wound, to mark, destroy, deface,61
And all their characters of grace,62
With grief or sorrow’s piercing edge,63
’Twere sin—’twere more than sacrilege.64

4.

Tho’ Sorrow’s lot is borne by each,65
And Man’s sad cup on earth is care,66
And bold is he who Pain will teach,67
To torture these, and those to spare,68
Yet some should sure be left Mankind,69
The solace of their woes behind,70
To gild this Lazar House with beams71
That emanate from Light’s pure streams,72
On life to throw one transient ray,73
And give its night the blaze of day ;74
Some, some there are, to whom their weak-
ness
75
Itself, should strong protection yield,76
Whom Innocence, and Angel Meekness,77
Should cover as a seven-fold shield.78
The great, unmourn’d, may fall or die,79
But such shall have our sympathy.80
When tempest’s force, or lightning’s stroke,81
Cleaves from its base the lofty oak,82
Unmov’d we see the mighty bound83
That throws its greatness to the ground ;84
But who can see, and see unheeding,85
The rose, but op’ning, fade away,86
The mildew on its beauties feeding,87
And blights corrode its sweets away ? —88
Or who can see, with eyes unwet,89
Uptorn the lovely violet ?90

5.

Such, oh ! may such be ne’er thy fate ;91
Thy couch may withering anguish flee :92
May all that decks the good and great,93
Its trophies lend to honour thee,94
And render thee while here a guest95
Of joy the giver and partaker,96
A thing not blessing more than blest,97
An angel made, and angel maker,—98
An orb, whose glorious course of fire99
No clouds can veil, or length can tire,100
Whose lamp of light, and sundrawn flame101
Shall, like its source, be still the same ;102
Or, as the symphony that springs103
From some unseen, ethereal strings,104
Which hearing, man in wonder lost,105
That sounds so sweet should stray below,106
Gives to the breeze his soul, as tost107
Its magic whispers come and go,108
Lists to its notes, as sweet they play,109
And hears his grosser parts away.110

6.

’Tis sweet to pause as on we creep,111
Up Life’s precipitous ascent,112
And turn to view, from summit steep,113
A new race go where once we went,114
In youth’s glad days, and journeying all,115
As guests to some rich festival ;116
To watch them stray from side to side,117
Nor fear the bandit gang of pain,118
And then, with minds new purified,119
Resume our pilgrimage again.120
Yes, such a gladd’ning sense of glee121
Hath oft thy presence shed on me ;122
And while to earth’s enduring race123
This mind and mem’ry shall belong,124
In them, thy beaming charms and face125
Shall ever live and linger long.126
Charms which, as some bright form,—some
spark
127
Of light and life our youth that met,128
’Tis man’s first work, and best, to mark,—129
His last, and hardest to forget.130