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How could reason be so far beguiled,
Err so far from senses' safe employ,
Stray so far from truth or run so wild ?
Seeing his face bent over book or toy,
“ Child” I called him smiling: but he smiled
Back, as one too high for vain annoy –
6 Not a child !”
THE children crowned themselves with roses,
And all the roses died !
Pale on the soft brown locks they lay,
Like a dream of spring on a cold white day,
In the barren winter-tide.
Throw the fading vision by!
Make a crown that cannot die.
The children crowned themselves with diamonds,
And could not bear the weight;
Down they droop their weary curls,
Like a leaf that falls or a sail that furls,
When the night is dark and late.
Throw away the useless things !
Crowns should be as light as wings.
The children crowned themselves with wishes,
And every wish came true;
Love lies soft on each fair head,
Kisses dry the tears they shed, -
Hope each day is new.
Keep that crown, nor keep in vain !
If it dies, it grows again.
RING-TING! I wish I were a Primrose,
A bright yellow Primrose, blowing in the spring !
The stooping bough above me,
The wandering bee to love me, The fern and moss to creep across,
And the Elm-tree for our king!
Nay, — stay! I wish I were an Elm-tree,
A great lofty Elm-tree, with green leaves gay!
The winds would set them dancing,
The sun and moonshine glance in,
And birds would house among the boughs,
And sweetly sing.
Oh, no! I wish I were a Robin,
A Robin, or a little Wren, everywhere to go,
Through forest, field, or garden,
And ask no leave or pardon,
Till winter comes with icy thumbs
To ruffle up our wing !
Well, — tell! where should I fly to,
Where go sleep in the dark wood or dell?
Before the day was over,
Home must come the rover, For mother's kiss, - sweeter this
Than any other thing.
TIRED of play! tired of play!
What hast thou done this livelong day?
The bird is hushed, and so is the bee,
The sun is creeping up steeple and tree;
The doves have flown to the sheltering eaves,
And the nests are dark with the drooping leaves ;
Twilight gathers, and day is done :
How hast thou spent it, precious one ?
Playing? But what hast thou done beside,
To tell thy mother at eventide ?
What promise of morn is left unbroken?
What kind word to thy playmate spoken ?
Whom hast thou pitied, and whom forgiven ?
How with thy faults has duty striven ?
What hast thou learned by field and hill,
By greenwood path and by singing rill ?
There will come an end to a longer day,
That will find thee tired, but not of play.
Well for thee, then, if thy lips can tell
A tale like this of a day spent well.
If thine open hand hath relieved distress,
If thy pity hath sprung, at wretchedness,
If thou hast forgiven the sore offence,
And humbled thy heart with penitence;
If nature's voices have spoken to thee,
With their holy meanings, eloquently ;
If every creature hath won thy love,
From the creeping worm to the brooding dove;
And never a sad, low-spoken word
Hath plead with thy human heart unheard ;
Then, when the night steals on as now,
It will bring relief to thine aching brow,
And with joy and peace at the thought of rest,
Thou wilt sink to sleep on thy mother's breast.
LITTLE moments, how they fly,
Golden-winged, flitting by,
Bearing many things for me
Into vast eternity!
Never do they wait to ask
If completed is my task,
Whether gathering grain or weeds,
Doing good or evil deeds ;
Onward haste they evermore,
Adding all unto their store !
And the little moments keep
Record, if we wake or sleep,
Of our every thought and deed,
For us all some time to read.
Artists are the moments too,
Ever painting something new,
On the walls and in the air,
Painting pictures everywhere!
If we smile or if we frown,
Little moments put it down,
And the angel, memory,
Guards the whole eternally!
Let us then so careful be,
That they bear for you and me,
On their little noiseless wings
Only good and pleasant things;
And that pictures which they paint
Have no background of complaint:
So the angel, memory,
May not blush for you and me!
GOOD-NIGHT AND GOOD-MORNING.
A FAIR little girl sat under a tree,
Sewing as long as her eyes could see;
Then smoothed her work and folded it right,
And said, “Dear work, good-night, good-night!”