Sitting with my babes around me,
And the youngest on my knee,
Gazing' through the open lattice
At the sunlight warm and free;
Thinking how my spirit doteth
On this blessed Autumn-time,
How she loves its low-voiced whispers
Better than the Christmas chime,
Or the babbling of the brooklet
When it bursts its icy band,
Winter's close and Spring's returning
Loud proclaiming through the land,—
Musing thus, my eye unconscious
Seeks the lambkin of our fold,
And Remembrance softly murmurs,
' She is just a twelvemonth old !'

Little hands ! 'neath their light pressure
Naught but dimples now I trace ;
Trusting eyes, turned fondly upward,
Mutely woo a warm embrace.
Timid lips, that ne'er have ventured
On the first sweet, trembling word,
Fluttering voice, that utters only
Cooings like some nestling bird,
Save when raised in mocking laughter
As she joins the children's play,
Listening to their gleeful chorus:
' Addie's one year old to-day !'

Tottering feet, that claim the guidance
Of a mother's guarding hand ;
Tiny form, that bends and trembles
In its weak attempts to stand;
Will that hand be spared to guide thee
Onward through the coming years ?
Will her voice be near to banish
All thy childish doubts and fears?
Precious one ! when slumber binds thee
Thoughts like these so often start,
For there's many a secret longing
Prisoned in a mother's heart.

Should this be, O Father ! aid me
In the truths I would impress ;
When I crave Divine Assistance,
Deign to hearken and to bless.
Sooner than these feet should wander
Wayward, erring, from the Right,
Or these hands in acts of kindness
Never learn to take delight;
Sooner than these lips should utter
Slander base or black untruth,
And this spotless soul be sullied
In the golden hour of youth;
Sooner, though the pang it cost me
Might be more than I could bear,
Would I see the death-dew gather
Now upon her forehead fair;
Sooner, when the spring-time cometh,
Part the grass above the mold,
Reading on the tablet o'er her:
'Little Addie, one year old.'

More verses by Kate Harrington