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(title page) For the Little Ones
A Lady of Savannah
John M. Cooper & Co.
Call number Conf Pam 12mo #424 (Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library, Duke University Libraries)
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-CH
digitization project, Documenting the American South.
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Library of Congress Subject Headings, 21st edition, 1998
LC Subject Headings:
LITTLE GIRLS AND BOYS
LADY OF SAVANNAH.
I publish this little book, because, like everybody else, I would like to do good--good to the fresh young hearts who have inspired my little songs, and good to the brave soldiers now suffering for our sacred rights.
To their relief, the proceeds of this volume shall be appropriated.
What says the clock when it strikes one?
Watch, says the clock! Oh, watch little one!
What says the clock when it strikes two?
Love God, little darling, for God loves you!
And tell me, tell me softly, what it whispers at three--
Is it "suffer little children to come unto me?"
Then come gentle lambs, come and wander no more,
'Tis the voice of the Shepherd that calls you at four!
And oh! let your young hearts with gladness revive,
When it echoes so sweetly, God bless thee, at five
And remember at six, with the fading of day,
That your life is a vapour that passeth away!
What says the clock when it strikes seven?
Of such is the kingdom, the kingdom of Heaven!
And what says the clock when it strikes eight?
Strive, strive, to enter in at the Beautiful Gate!
And louder, still louder it calls us at nine,
And its song is, my son give me that heart of thine.
Then sweet be your voices responsive at ten--
Hosanna in the highest, hosanna--amen!
And loud let the chorus ring on till eleven--
Praise, praise to the Father, the Father in Heaven!
While the deep stroke of midnight, the watchword shall bring,
Lo! these are my jewels these, these, saith the King.
He is acting o'er the battle,
With his cap and feathers gay,
Singing out his soldier prattle,
In a mockish, manly way;
With the boldest, bravest footstep,
Treading firmly up and down,
And his banner waving softly,
O'er his boyish locks of brown.
And I sit beside him sewing,
With a busy heart and hand,
For the gallant soldiers going
To the far off battle land;
And I gaze upon my jewel,
In his baby spirit bold,
My little blue-eyed soldier,
Just a second summer old--
Till the deep, deep well of feeling
In my mother's heart is stirred,
And the tears come softly stealing
At each imitative word.
There's a struggle in my bosom,
For I love my darling boy;
He's the gladness of my spirit,
He's the sunlight of my joy!
Yet I think upon my country,
And my spirit groweth bold--
O I wish my blue-eyed soldier
Were but twenty summers old!
I would speed him to the battle,
I would man him for the fight,
I would give him to his country,
For his country's wrong and right!
I would nerve his hand with blessing
From the "God of Battles" won--
With His helmet and His armour,
I would cover o'er my son!
O I know there'd be a struggle,
For I love my darling boy;
He's the gladness of my spirit,
He's the sunlight of my joy!
Yet, in thinking on my country,
O my spirit groweth bold!
And I wish my blue-eyed soldier,
Were but twenty summers old.
Let me linger, dearest sister,
Soft and silent by your bed--
'Till the happy sprites from dream-land,
Cluster round your weary head.
O I wish I were a fairy!
In this dark and dewy hour,
Just to sweep across your forehead,
With a sunbeam or a flower!
But I'll pray the holy angels
Close beside your bed to stand,
And to bring you some sweet message,
From the bright, the "better land."
They may watch you till the morning
Sheds its golden streaks of red,
And the little smiling sunbeams
Flit around your snowy bed.
Then from sleep, with sweet refreshing,
Bright and cheerful may you be--
When I come to say "good morning,"
As I've sung "good night" to thee.
What is it! oh, what is that beautiful thing!
That I see over-head in the sky?
It is bright as it can be, and shaped like a ring,
And 'tis hung up, oh, ever so high!
It is purple and blue, and crimson and green,
And the streaks are so narrow and even,
O it must be, it must be, the pathway, I ween,
That we take when we go up to Heaven!
Yet it cannot be so, for the valley is deep,
That I know we must cross when we die,
So it may be the wings of the angels that sweep
Down this path from the beautiful sky!
My darling spoke softly, but joyous and bright,
With a smile full of feeling and love,
As she leaned, in a rapture of childish delight,
Towards the beautiful rainbow above.
So sweet was her prattle, beguiling the day
With the loveliest thoughts ever heard,
That the bright bow of Promise had faded away,
Ere I spoke to my darling a word.
Then I told her of Noah, the sin-stricken world,
The deluge, the ark and the dove,
And the "bow in the cloud," like a banner unfurled,
With its token of mercy and love.
Then it seemed that the spirit--the soul of the child,
Beamed forth from her beautiful eyes,
And a sweet look of wonder rose up as she smiled,
In a transport of joyful surprise.
So thinking of life, with its sorrows and cares,
Every joy like a mist to enshroud,
I prayed that her pathway, tho' shadowed by tears,
Might be cheered by the "bow in the cloud,"
Come hither, I'll tell thee, how precious to me
Is the dear little baby that sits on my knee;
He's as light as a feather, and free as the air,
And he plays with his fingers all over my hair.
He's as fresh as the morning, and sweet as the rose,
And he catches a blessing wherever he goes;
And there's nothing on earth that is dearer to me
Than the bright little baby that sits on my knee!
He's a gay little creature, the merriest thing
That the eye ever lit on, in Summer or Spring,
And he flits like a sunbeam all over the house,
Now laughing and jumping, now still as a mouse.
There's a light in my spirit, a thrilling of joy,
As I clasp to my bosom this glorious boy--
For he's just as bewitching in smiles as in tears,
And he's dearer to me, for the name that he bears.
O the summer is shedding its beauty around,
And the dear little flowers are decking the ground!
And the gay ones are seeking for pleasures afar,
Where the dance and the song and the light hearted are.
But I sit in my chamber, and toss on my knee,
The dear little fellow so precious to me,
And I think I must love him a wee bit the more,
For the thought that his mother was baby before!
He's a beautiful boy--so I'm thinking alone,
As I pet him to sleep with a way of my own;
O he sings to the morn, and he sings to the eve,
And his song is the sweetest you e'er could conceive!
He's a month or so older, perhaps, than the birds,
And a little bit bolder by two or three words;
Now a darling he is--if there ever was one,
And he won't be a year till the summer is done!
Eva, Eva, why so slow,
Must you ever, ever go?
Quick my little darling one,
See, the morning has begun!
Wash your little face and hands,
There the water-bucket stands,
Waiting cool and nice for you--
Make haste Eva, Eva, do!
Put your shoes and stockings on!
O how fast the minutes run!
Clean your teeth, and brush your hair,
There now--that will do my dear!
Raise your little head, and see,
You are even now with me!
Don't forget to fold your gown
Lay it smooth and nicely down!
O it looks so clean and white,
Even by the broad day light!
Now I think a little frill
Will but make it neater still;
You can hem it in a day,
If you will but stitch away,
And the sewing on--I'll do--
Tell me Eva, what say you?
Now put on your petticoat,
And the flannel round your throat--
Pull it warmly up my dear,
For old winter still is here;
And you know that wretched cough,
Will not let you take it off!
If you'll come and stand by me,
So that I can only see,
I'll be glad to help you fix
Every button, up to six!
And I'll hook your little dress,
Only stopping once to press,
Just a sweet good morning kiss,
On your neck--my little miss!
Up now Eva--up my dear--
You have got your nails to pare;
Cut them very smooth and round,
Never let a spot be found,
That is not as fair to see
As my little Pet should be!
There now--that will do--right well--
Hark! I hear the morning bell,
Ringing loudly on the stairs,--
Run--dear Eva--down to prayers!
"What is the secret, little one?
Come sit upon my knee,
And tell me what it is you've done,
If sorrowful you be.
"There's something preying on your heart
Now don't deny it, Liz,
But put those bonnie curls apart,
And tell me what it is.
"I saw you in the garden, dear,
A little while a ago,
I thought I saw you standing, where
The richest cherries grow.
"Your happy brow, my little one,
Now wears a troubled air--
Come tell me what it is you've done--
Come near, Liz--very near!"
She called me softly by my name,
And patted o'er my head,
Her little voice like music came,
These were the words she said--
"I only searched the garden there,
To find upon my tree,
The first ripe cherry of the year,
If any I could see.
"I want it for a purpose good--
A cherry and a rose,
A little violet from the wood,
The palest one that blows.
"My Cloth of Gold is nearly round,
I wish the cherries were;
The little violets abound,
When will the cherries bear?
"The straw-berries are turning fast
Within their lowly beds--
They're blushing deeper--deep at last
And bowing down their heads.
"I'm only waiting now to find
A cherry red and ripe--
A cherry suited to my mind,
Without a spot or stripe.
"And then from off the green-wood sod,
I'll pluck the violet roots,
And bring an offering to God--
Two flowers, and two fruits.
"For thus in olden times they did,
And tis for this, that I
Am watching for the cherries hid
Up in the branches high."
I kissed her little cheek--for oh!
It was a pleasant thought--
And sweet and welcome was the flow
Of joyful tears she brought.
And then I told her that the Lord.
The Lord of glory dear,
Has written in his holy word,
Another lesson there.
And that the sweetest thing that she
Could offer up to heaven,
A little loving heart would be,
All in the morning given.
Little Laura sat down to a nice cup of tea,
And she thought as she sipped it, how happy was she,
With a seat at the table, so cheerfully spread,
With papa at the foot, and mamma at the head.
Then she thought over all the sweet mercies she had,
And her blne eyes grew joyous, the child was so glad;
So she folded her white hands, and bowed her young head,
And thus to her father in heaven she said--
Relieve the distresses of others, O Lord!
And feed me I pray with the "milk of the word,"
And give us enough for to-morrow again,
And forgive all our sins--for Christ's sake--amen.
"Mother how old is Santa Claus?"
A little darling said,
As wide awake she laid aside,
The neatly quilted spread;
And tossing back the stubborn curls,
That would come dropping down,
She started for the chimney side,
All in her snowy gown.
"'Tis very kind in Santa Claus--
It is so very cold,
For him to venture out at night--
I'm sure he must be old:
For long ago I heard of him--
And mother, don't you know,
When you were but a little girl,
He treated you just so?
"You said he used to travel down
The chimney in the night,
And that you always slept too long,
To see him take his flight;
And Grandmama the other day,
She told me just the same,
Altho' I think, she called him by
A little shorter name.
"What was it mother?" and she laid
Her hand upon her brow,
But in another moment said,
"O I remember now!
'Twas something like St. Nick, I think,
Or some such name as that,"
And down upon the carpet rug
The little fairy sat.
She held her stocking in her hand,
'Twas full of treasures sweet,
And stretched too long almost to fit
Her little tiny feet.
Upon her soft and rosy lip,
She laid the candy red,
But ere she tasted,--put it down--
And tremulously said,--
"Mother, I will not eat it now--
You know the reason why;"
And as I looked, a shining tear
Came peeping from her eye:
"I was so glad, so very glad,
This happy Christmas day,
I all forgot, when I awoke,
To kneel me down and pray!"
Then by my side, a gentle word
For pardon softly rose,
I trembled, with a feeling which
Each Christian Mother knows;
And as I heard that timid voice,
Of summers only ten,
And listened to the echo of
That beautiful amen--
I thought if such an one as this,
So innocent and meek,
Hath on her heart some little sin,
May taint her lovely cheek--
Oh, what a holy alter should
A mother's bosom be--
Till every little one be clothed
With angel purity!
I have a pair of tiny hands,
They're little bits of things--
But mother says that they were made
To serve the "King of King's."
'Twas this morning I was sitting,
In my bamboo rocking chair,
With my basket and my knitting,
To beguile the minutes spare;
And as Allie played before me,
With her young eyes beaming joy
Like a picture to allure me,
From my womanly employ;
With a happy thought I called her
From her play-things scattered wide,
And with sweet persuasion won her
To a duty by my side.
In the little willow basket
Lay a tangled skein of thread,
Will you hold it for me, darling,
While I wind it? "Yes," she said.
Then her white arms bare and lovely,
She outstretched with childish mirth,
And I bound the tangled meshes,
Round the fairest hands on earth.
And with quick and lightsome finger,
I began my labor small,
But the hours seemed to linger
As I wound my little ball;
For the tangled thread grew longer,
Every minute to us both,
And the knotted web wove stronger,
Till my very soul was wroth.
But the gentle little creature,
Like a statue still and calm,
Stood with firm, unwearied feature,
Just as patient as a lamb;
And in accents slow and solemn,
With amusing gravity,
Fell a quiet word of caution,
Or encouragement to me.
So I buckled on my armour,
And began anew the strife,
Thinking all the while of Allie
In her far off future life.
And I wondered if the patience
Which had stood her well to-day,
Would grow brighter, and grow stronger,
As she journeyed on her way;
But with busy toil, and finger,
Fast the busy moments flew,
Till the skein was all unraveled,
And the knotty meshes too.
So I've passed from work to singing,
With a happy spirit blest,
Of the seed of patience springing
In my little sister's breast.
She's bonnie, bonnie as the birds,
And blushing as the flowers,
And scarce a darling in the land,
Is half as fair as ours.
O I love to stay through the live-long day,
Where my thoughts gush wild and free,
And the friends so sweet, of my childhood meet,
In this old Academy!
And I love to stand with this happy band,
Of girls so young and fair,
By my teacher's side, with a pupil's pride,
My teacher's heart to share.
And I'm sad to think as I journey on,
By the school-bell's measured chime--
Of the Autumn leaf, and the moments brief,
In the far-off future time.
For they tell me all, this treasured wall,
Our brightest hopes surround;
So I love to stay, in the good old way,
Where my heart is sweetly bound.
O I love to gaze, in these happy days,
On the bright, bright forms I see,
On the beaming eyes, of the early wise,
In their young simplicity.
For the waving curl, of a merry girl,
Is a thing so light and fair,
That it could not play, o'er a brow so gay,
If it were not happy there.
And the rosy smile, with its cunning wile,
That the bonnie school-girl wears,
O it cannot be we may ever see
Such a blushing bud in tears!
For the "lights and shades" of a school-girl's life
Are just like the opening morn,
When the early dew and the flow'rets new,
With the first sweet breath are born!
But the school-girl's hope, if ever grief
O'er her dancing spirits stay,
Hath a sudden charm, and a sweet relief,
To "drive dull care away."
O a bud half-blown and a child half grown,
Are the sweetest things on earth,
And the school-girl's life, is as free from strife,
As the lamb of a Summer's birth!
O ye! who have past this treasured time,
And have lost its wild delight,
Ye may envy us, as ye list to the chime
Of the tolling bell to-night.
For our hearts beat high, as we linger by
This old and treasured wall,
And we hear once more, as we did of yore,
Our teacher's gentle call.
For the parting time, and the last sweet chime
Are slowly coming on,
And we may not stand in this happy band,
When our holiday is gone.
O a summer bright, and a happy flight,
Through the coming months we pray,
And a heart of love, to the God above,
As we joy in our holiday!
Come, doff that military dress,
We scarcely know you thus--
Come, lay aside those martial airs,
A little while for us.
There's something strange come o'er you late,
You're bold and fearless now--
There's self-reliance in your step,
And thought upon your brow;
There's strength within the pressure hard,
Of that uncovered hand,
And something in your voice that sounds
A wee bit like command.
The down has roughened on your cheek,
The lip is firmly set--
But oh! the sunny smile, thank God!
Is all unshadowed yet!
The light is beaming in your eye,
Just as it always did--
And dark and long the lashes lie,
Upon the softened lid.
The clustering locks in smoother bands,
Still beautiful remain--
O throw away those shoulder arms,
Come, be a boy again!
I'm thinking of your youthful heart,
Its unsuspecting trust,
Of all the by-ways, deep and dark,
That tread, I know you must!
I'm thinking of the evil steps
Close, close beside your own,
Of vice, and guilt, and wickedness,
So early, early shown!
I'm thinking of that inner part--
Your undeveloped life,
Your courage and your manliness,
To bear this moral strife!
I care not for the tented camp,
With all its rigid laws,
I love my country, and I'd give
The dearest to her cause!
But oh! e'er manhood on your brow,
A firmer seal hath lain,--
I'd woo you from your soldier life,
To be a boy again!
We have been a happy number,
All along life's little way,
Lying down by night to slumber,
Rising with the early day.
We have been unbroken ever,
God hath spared us still the same--
Let our little voices never
All forget his holy name.
We are all of different ages,
One a little baby still,
Whose sweet prattle with its gladness,
Daily doth our bosoms fill.
We are all still young and growing,
Neither yet hath reached its height--
And our hearts are all o'erflowing
With a holy love to-night.
Two of us are gentle brothers,
With our hearts both light and gay,
We must treasure all the others,
Precious little sisters they.
One is thoughtful, meek and quiet,
With a temper soft and mild,
All her little actions showeth,
She is now God's holy child.
Lighter is the heart that cometh
Next to her in flight of years,
And our mother often trembleth
With a mother's hopes and fears
She is bright and merry-hearted,
Free from weary care or woe,
And her joyous spirit brighteneth
Moments sad we else might know.
Gaily in our band of sisters--
Two are very closely bound,
They are different in their tempers,
But one chord twined around.
One is gentler, too, and older,
With a kind obliging way,
Which doth make our bosoms hold her
Dearer still, thro' every day!
Both have life and cheerful feeling,
But the youngest hath a glow,
Which thro' all our circle stealing,
Glistens like the streamlet's flow!
She is wild and playful often,
But she loves a quiet time,
When her noisy mirth may soften
'Neath the spell of book or rhyme.
One there is in all this number
Which hath bound us all in all,--
God himself hath thrown around her,
Love we tremble to recall!
She is blest with fading beauty,
And her flaxen curls betray,
What a frail and fragile creature
We are clinging to each day.
Often have we seen her struggling
With a quick and feverish breast,
And but lately she was lying
Close beside the Angel Death!
Often have her little features,
Worn a shade of weary pain,
Till we feared we n'er might see her
Sleeping quietly again.
She is dearer now than ever,
And we bless the precious hand,
Which hath cheered our youthful bosoms,
And hath spared our little band.
Thanks we give Thee, dearest Father,
O receive the thanks we pray!
Keep, oh! keep us, as we farther
Glide along life's little way!
Still one other little being
Gladdens all this household band,
With her blue eyes gentle beaming
Guided by a sister's hand.
Let not e'er our footsteps wander,
Tempted tho' our spirits be,
Let us every day grow fonder
Of each other, and of Thee!
Thus we are, and thus may ever,
Happy thoughts our spirits fill,
As we glide along forever
Up and down life's little hill!
Thus we are--while here we linger,
Thus, oh! may we be in Heaven!
Linked as now in sweetest feeling--
Brothers two, and sisters seven!
The Whip-po-will is blithe and gay,
But oh! he is a selfish thing!
Mother, I wish he'd fly away
And let the other birdies sing.
His voice is very loud and shrill,
He's noisy as a mountain elf--
For all the time he's talking still,
And talking all about himself.
The little dovie never dares
To lift he cooing voice on high,
But that the Whip-po-will prepares
To drown the little darling's cry.
And long before the robin sings
His tribute to the evening breeze,
A louder note, the forest rings,
With Whip-po-will among the trees.
The squirrel glides behind the hedge,
Or wantons in the hickory tree,
He climbs the rocks from ledge to ledge,
A merry, merry thing is he.
The little rabbit runs along,
Low down behind the shady hill,
How can he bear the noisy song--
Of Whip-po-will, poor Whip-po-will.
I think he might just stop awhile,
And let the other birdies sing!
There's little sparrow on the stile--
A sweeter note he's sure to bring.
My daughter--God who made the birds,
Appointed nicely every part--
Their little songs, their little words,
All bring a message to the heart.
And if the noisy Whip-po-will,
Doth seem a selfish thing to be--
Remember--we may gather still,
A lesson meet for you and me!
Poor little bird! Oh, do not chide
The Whip-po-will's unconcious song!
But dove-like, may you seek to hide
What e'er another does of wrong.
'Twas Christmas eve, and by the sun,
Fast fading from the sky,
Methought 'twas time for "Santa Claus,"
To mount his chariot high!
And sitting breathless in the dark,
All sad and musingly,
I spied my little rosy Pet,
And beckoned her to me.
The child came creeping softly up,
With such a thoughtful air,
I wondered if she quite forgot,
The morrow drawing near!
And with a warm and tender clasp,
I drew her to my side,
And parting back the wavy locks,
That graced her forehead wide.
I said--"what think you Santa Claus,
Will bring us all to night,"
The little creature looked askant,
As if to hear aright--
And by the torch upon the hearth
'Twas beautiful to see,
The half-reproachful timid glance,
My darling cast on me.
"I thought he would not come at all;"
(And lifting up her head,)
"To-morrow is the holy day,"
With pious awe she said--
"He surely will not bring a doll,
Or any foolish toys,
'Twould be a sin in Santa Claus
To mar our Sabbath joys!"
My heart grew sore within my breast,
And tears bedimmed my eye,
For many little foolish toy
Swung in the stocking high.
But talking still, with scarce a thought,
How deep the wound begun,
My innocent unconscious child,
Still farther drew me on.
"I hope he will not come at all,
Or if he does, that he
Will only bring a Bible, or
A Testament to me!
Or some sweet holy book to read,
Where any little child
May learn in babyhood to walk,
All pure and undefiled."
She ceased--the torch upon the hearth
In beauteous flames had spread,
And so within my heart, the light
Of holiness was shed!
Thus chastened meekly by my child,
New hopes begin to dawn,--
And strengthened by a firm resolve,
I hail the Christmas morn!
Come tell me darling, do you know
Who makes the little flowers grow?
Who dresses up the woods in green,
And trims the little shrubs between?
Who tosses lightly o'er the pine,
The little sprig of Eglantine?
And chooses out a leafy bough,
To grace the lonely mountain's brow?
Who is it perches on the hill,
The noisy lark with singing bill?
And throws a song across the lake,
That bids the little birds awake?
Who dimples o'er the forest stream,
And lulls the little fish to dream?
And fringes o'er the dewy glade,
With tassels of the rushes made?
Dear Eva, can you tell me who--
Who made the sun--the heavens blue?
And crossed the firmament at night,
With beauteous stars of twinkling light?
'Twas God, my little darling child,
At whose sweet breath the flowers smiled!
'Twas God who dressed the woods in green,
And trimmed the little shrubs between!
'Twas God who hung the trembling vine,
Across the tall uplifted pine!
And graced the mountain, taught the bird
To warble out his sweetest word!
'Twas God who dimpled o'er the stream,
And wove the fish's silvery seam!
Who twined the fringe, the rushes made,
And tasseled o'er the dewy glade!
And when the earth so sweetly smiled,
He made a little playful child,
To romp about with gladsome feet,
And press the daisies, wild and sweet!
But little buds that scent the air,
And little birds that warble near,
Repeat the choral echo given,
'Twas God who made the Earth and Heaven!
Come, Willie, come study your State Alphabet:
First A's for the Army--now don't you forget--
And B's for the Banner, the "flag of the free,"
For Beauregard, Bartow, Bethel and Bee!
And C's for the "Southern Confederacy" brave,
Our bold little ship, all afloat on the wave!
And D's for Davis, oh, wide as the sea
Shall the fame of our glorious President be!
Next, E's for the Eighth, they were first in the fight,
And F is for Freedom, the freedom of right,
And G stands for Georgia,--the flower, the queen,
And H is for Hampton, his legion I mean!
Now I is the Infantry, sturdy and strong,
And the J's to the Johnsons and Jacksons belong,
And K's for "King Cotton" he sits on his throne,
The monarch of nations, alone, all alone!
And L stands for Lincoln, oh, woe to his crown!
"King Cotton," "King Cotton" is trampling him down!
And M's for Manassas, our glory, our pride,
And N for the Navy, the waters to guide,
And O's for the Oglethorpes, glorious name!
O write it in gold on the pages of fame!
And stamp Carolina the rebel the worst,
With a P for Palmetto, secession the first!
And Q is so twisted, so twisted and twirled,
That Q's for the traitors, all over the world,
And R for the Rebels, the rebels shall stand--
And S for Savannah, our own native land.
And the Creoles the Tigers are graven with T,
And U's for the Union, a wreck on the sea!
And V's for our Victory, bright as the sun,
And W for Washington, soon to be won!
And X still a place in your letters must keep,
O X is a cross for the heroes you weep!
And Y for the Yankees, the Yankees is set,
Then Z for the Zouaves--now don't you forget--
For Z is the end of your State Alphabet.
Had you asked for a flower, a leaf or a rose,
That would fade just as soon as it blossoms or blows,
For a branch from the myrtle, the cedar or pine,
Just to cherish because I had once called it mine,--
I'd have gathered the beautiful tribute so fair,
And bound it perchance with the ribbon I wear,
And breathed on it softly the sweetest of sighs,
That ever came silently down from the skies.
Had you asked me to think of you sometimes by day,
Or sometimes by night, when I'm kneeling to pray,
Or away on the green in some light hearted game,
To steal away softly and call you by name.
O 'twould have been sweet to remember you thus!
And sweet if you'd promise to think so of us;
But the gift you have chosen,--O light as the air
Is the unfettered flow of my sun-tinted hair!
Not the spell of your memory--bright though it be--
Shall bind the fair captives in duty to thee,
For I know my poor ringlet but lightly you'd hold,
By the side of some lovelier ringlet of gold.
Then gather your trophes and triumphs at home,
Tho' the thoughts I have promised are yours as you roam,
And I fain would remind you how sweet it would be
If you'd think of us sometimes, as we do of thee.
Birdie, birdie on the tree,
Just as high as you can be,
Hopping, flying all about,
Sometimes in, and sometimes out,--
Come and fold your downy wing,
Teach me softly how to sing.
Birdie, birdie well I know,
Who it is you're singing to--
And I wish that I could be,
When I bend my little knee,
Half as full of praise and love
As the song you send above.
I've a little sister, sweet,
Just beginning to repeat
Little hymns and little prayers,
Every little thing she hears;
And the other day she sat
Down upon the garden plat,
Looking up among the trees,
With her dolly on her knees,
Trying hard to catch the air,
You were singing sweetly there.
Birdie, birdie on the tree,
Tell me, can't you answer me?
Wont you teach us how to sing
In this lovely month of spring?
Only me and little Bess,
Do, dear birdie, tell me yes!
Bend your little downy crest,
Softly o'er your feathery breast,
And I'll take it for sign
That you love us, birdie mine.
Thank you, thank you, for that nod,
O how beautiful to God
Will our little concerts be!
Only birdie, Bess and me.
They paint me bright and lift me high,
Yet mute and motionless am I;
To distant lands I point the way,
But not a word have I to say.
Three little letters form my name,
Yet wide as ocean is my fame,
And tho' my life is still and calm,
I to the world a teacher am.
My first is but a little word,
And yet 'tis often, often heard;
Two letters only here abound,
One straight and one is twisted round;
But when the two together go,
My first--a nuter verb will show.
Scorn not my second--tho' 'tis small,
For know--it leads an army tall,
Full twenty-five beneath are set,
My second heads the Alphabet.
My third--oh, sweet, how sweet the chime,
That measures out the thread of time!
Three little letters here are found,
And three methinks of sweetest sound;
Sometimes it quivers like a song,
Sometimes it tinkles, ding, ding, dong,
However gay, or sad the soul,
'Twill either sing, or chime, or toll;
Now add to this my third a name--
And strange to say my whole's the same.
Good night my dear auntie, I'm going to bed,
Little Dickie's asleep, and my prayers are all said,
And I've folded my clothes up, so nice on the chair,
Not a crease, or a rumple, or wrinkle is there.
I am gazing now on the frozen earth,
And the snow-white flakes I see,
And it makes me sad, that a thing so fair,
So cold a thing should be.
O it is not like my own warm heart,
With its icy breath I ween!
Tho' the beautiful snow is a thing so pure,
That I would my heart were as clean.
O it is not like my own warm heart,
As it falls over land and sea!
Tho' never a lighter step hath trod,
Than the snow-flakes seem to be.
O it is not like my own warm heart,
Tho' it covers the leafless bough!
For its touch is cold, and the branches old,
Are shrinking from it now.
O it is not like my own warm heart,
But of life may an emblem be!
With a hue so bright, and a step so light,
It hath ever a charm for me.
O it is! oh, it is! like my own young life,
And I pray like the melting snows,
That I may not stay, thro' the live-long day,
But pass e'er the sunshine goes.
In the leaflets of my Bible,
There's the sweetest souvenir,
'Tis a little childish marker,
But I hold it very dear.
'Twas a tiny fairy finger,
Worked the little letters so--
Laid it softly in my Bible,
Long ago--oh, long ago!
My first is ruby red and bright,
My second almost snowy white,
My third if perfect doth appear,
Is black as night, and polished rare,
Tho' small my whole, the heart within
Is linked with human guilt and sin!
In every home I bear a part,
And gently knock at every heart;
The old, the young, both feel my power,
With every swift returning hour,
And Life and Death, and Earth and Heaven
To me--a mighty voice hath given!