To My Babe.

There is no sound upon the night1
As, by the shaded lamp, I trace, 2
My babe, in infant beauty bright, 3
The changes of thy sleeping face.—4
Hallow’d for ever be the hour 5
To us, throughout all time to come, 6
Which gave us thee—a living flower7
To bless and beautify our home !8
Thy presence is a charm, which wakes 9
A new creation to my sight ; 10
Gives life another look, and makes 11
The wither’d green, the faded bright.12
Pure as a lily of the brook, 13
Heaven’s signet on thy forehead lies, 14
And heaven is read in every look, 15
My daughter, of thy soft blue eyes.16
In sleep thy little spirit seems 17
To some bright realm to wander back, 18
And seraphs, mingling with thy dreams, 19
Allure thee to their shining track.20
Already like a vernal flower21
I see thee opening to the light, 22
And day by day, and hour by hour, 23
Becoming more divinely bright.24
Yet in my gladness stirs a sigh, 25
Even for the blessing of thy birth, 26
Knowing how sins and sorrows try 27
Mankind, and darken o’er the earth !28
Ah, little dost thou ween, my child, 29
The dangers of the way before, 30
How rocks in every path are piled, 31
Which few unharm’d can clamber o’er.32
Sweet bud of beauty ! how wilt thou 33
Endure the bitter tempest’s strife ? 34
Shall thy blue eyes be dimm’d—thy brow 35
Indented by the cares of life ?36
If years are spared to thee—alas ! 37
It may be—ah ! it must be so ; 38
For all that live and breathe, the glass, 39
Which must be quaff’d, is drugg’d with woe.40
Yet ah ! if prayers could aught avail, 41
So calm thy skies of life should be, 42
That thou shouldst glide, beneath the sail 43
Of virtue, on a stormless sea ;44
And ever on thy thoughts, my child, 45
The sacred truth should be impress’d46
Grief clouds the soul to sin beguiled, 47
Who liveth best, God loveth best.48
Across thy path, Religion’s star 49
Should eyer shed its healing ray, 50
To lead thee from this world’s vain jar, 51
To scenes of peace, and purer day :52
Shun Vice—the breath of her abode 53
Is poison’d, though with roses strewn ; 54
And cling to Virtue, though the road 55
Be thorny—boldly travel on !56
For thee I ask not riches—thou 57
Wert wealthy with a spotless name ; 58
I ask not beauty—for thy brow 59
Is fair as my desires could claim.60
Be thine a spirit loathing guilt, 61
Kind, independent, pure, and free ; — 62
Be like thy mother,—and thou wilt 63
Be all my soul desires to see !64