BETA

To Lina Oswald

(Aged Five Years).

I TUMBLE out of bed betimes1
To write my love these little rhymes ;2
And meet the hour and meet the place3
To bless her happy morning face.4
I send her all my heart can store,5
I seem to see her as before.6
Again she stands beneath the boughs,7
Reproves the pup, and feeds the cows ;8
Unvex’d by rule, unscared by ill,9
She wanders at her “ own sweet will ;”10
For what grave fiat could confine11
My little charter’d libertine,12
Yet free from feeling or from seeing13
The burthen of her moral being ?14
But change must come, and forms and dyes15
Will change before her changing eyes ;16
She’ll learn to blush, and hope, and fear17
And where shall I be then, my dear ?18
Little gossip, set apart19
But one small corner of your heart ;20
There still is one, not quite employ’d,21
So let me find and fill that void ;22
Then run, and jump, and laugh, and play,23
But love me though I’m far away.24
The world would lose its fairest joys25
Without its little girls and boys ;26
Their careless glee, and simple ruth,27
And trust, and innocence, and truth.28
—Ah, what would your poor poet do29
Without such little folk as you ?30