No. XI: To an Infant Afar


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By Mrs. Fletcher.


THOU art sleeping or at play,
    Happy one! pretty one!
Laughing, lisping, far away,
Heedless of the salt-sea spray,
    Happy one! pretty one!

When they ask thee, where am I?
    Little one! distant one!
Thou dost neither smile nor sigh;
All thy world is very nigh,
    Home-encircled little one!

I am sailing on the sea,
    English one! city one!
And long years must come and flee,
Ere I look again on thee,
    Changing, growing little one!

Yet, how oft I see a thing,
    Gentle one! fragile one!
That, before mine eye can bring
Thee, by Fancy’s symbolling;
    Gentle one! fragile one!

Nautili that sail the deep,
    Weak and fair—pretty one!
Tiny birds that o’er it sweep;
Flying fish that upward leap;
    Baby billows—pretty one!

Many a cloud at morn or night,
    Small and tender—little one!
Many a moonbeam's quivering light
Making ocean’s bosom bright
    As with glow-worms—little one!

All things that are weak and fair,
    Rosy one! merry one!
Image infants everywhere,
Careless, amid cause for care,
    Ever helpless little one!

God, and his good strength be thine,
    Mother-tended little one!
Thou, within that circling shrine,
I, upon the foaming brine,
    Need it ever,—little one!

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