Tradition, Thou Art For Suckling Children

Tradition, thou art for suckling children,
Thou art the enlivening milk for babes;
But no meat for men is in thee.
Then --
But, alas, we all are babes.

by Stephen Crane.

To My Dear Children.

This Book by Any yet vnread,
I leaue for yov when I am dead,
That, being gone, here yov may find
What was your liueing mother's mind.
Make vse of what I leaue in Loue
And God shall blesse yov from above.

by Anne Bradstreet.

Little wisp of wonderment,
All the world your doll!
Hugging it in huge content,
Little wisp of wonderment;
Life has only laughter sent—
Everything is droll:
Little wisp of wonderment,
All the world your doll.

by Arthur Henry Adams.

The lover of child Marjory
Had one white hour of life brim full;
Now the old nurse, the rocking sea,
Hath him to lull.
The daughter of child Marjory
Hath in her veins, to beat and run,
The glad indomitable sea,
The strong white sun.

by Bliss William Carman.

As Children Bid The Guest "Good Night"

133

As Children bid the Guest "Good Night"
And then reluctant turn—
My flowers raise their pretty lips—
Then put their nightgowns on.

As children caper when they wake
Merry that it is Morn—
My flowers from a hundred cribs
Will peep, and prance again.

by Emily Dickinson.

On The Birth Of A Friend's Child

Mark the day white, on which the Fates have smiled:
Eugenio and Egeria have a child.
On whom abundant grace kind Jove imparts
If she but copy either parent's parts.
Then, Muses! long devoted to her race,
Grant her Egeria's virtues and her face;
Nor stop your bounty there, but add to it
Eugenio's learning and Eugenio's wit.

by Ernest Christopher Dowson.

Why speak of Rajah rubies,
And roses of the South?
I know a sweeter crimson
A baby's mouth.

Why speak of Sultan sapphires
And violet seas and skies?
I know a lovelier azure
A baby's eyes.

Go seek the wide world over!
Search every land and mart!
You 'll never find a pearl like this
A baby's heart.

by Madison Julius Cawein.

Epitaph On A Child

Cruel the pang to hear the struggling sigh,
Watch o'er the faded cheek and closing eye;
See infant innocence with parting breath
Its weeping parents bless, and smile in death.—
Check your vain tears!—Lo! He who 'walk'd the wave,'
Triumphant rising from the vanquish'd grave,
To man, by blood celestial ransom'd, cries,
He lives, for ever lives, in Me who dies.

by Henry James Pye.

HOW steadfastly she worked at it!
How lovingly had drest
With all her would-be-mother’s wit
That little rosy nest!

How longingly she ’d hung on it!—
It sometimes seemed, she said,
There lay beneath its coverlet
A little sleeping head.

He came at last, the tiny guest,
Ere bleak December fled;
That rosy nest he never prest…
Her coffin was his bed.

by Henry Austin Dobson.

A South-Sea Islander

ALOLL in the warm clear water,
On her back with languorous limbs,
She lies. The baby upon her breasts
Paddles and falls and swims.
With half-closed eyes she smiles,
Guarding it with her hands;
And the sob swells up in my heart —
In my heart that understands.
Dear, in the English country,
The hatefullest land on earth,
The mothers are starved and the children die,
And death is better than birth!

by Francis William Lauderdale Adams.

What is Hope? A smiling rainbow
Children follow through the wet;
’Tis not here, still yonder, yonder:
Never urchin found it yet.

What is Life? A thawing iceboard
On a sea with sunny shore;—
Gay we sail; it melts beneath us;
We are sunk, and seen no more.

What is Man? A foolish baby,
Vainly strives, and fights, and frets;
Demanding all, deserving nothing;—
One small grave is what he gets.

by Thomas Carlyle.

I SAW a fairy twine,
Of star-white jessamine,
A dainty seat, shaped like an airy swing,
With two round yellow stars
Against the misty bars
Of night; she nailed it high
In the pansy-purple sky,
With four taps of her little rainbow wing.
To and fro
That swing I'll blow.
The baby moon in the amethyst sky
Will laugh at us as we float and fly,
And stretch her silver arms and try
To catch the earth-babe swinging by

by Isabella Valancy Crawford.

After The Battles

The dead are beneath the sod,
And the flowers above them blooming;
The birds are singing again,
And the bees in the clover humming.

The skies are glory above
In the dawn, and the sunset flushes.
And the wind a lullaby croon
Of a mother, her babe that hushes.

For Earth is a patient Earth,
And pardon is quick to win her-
But the heart of her child, of Man,
Is a quenchless flame within her.

by Ina D. Coolbrith.

The Gambols Of Children

DOWN the dimpled greensward dancing,
Bursts a flaxen-headed bevy,—
Bud-lipt boys and girls advancing,
Love's irregular little levy.

Rows of liquid eyes in laughter,
How they glimmer, how they quiver!
Sparkling one another after,
Like bright ripples on a river.

Tipsy band of rubious faces,
Flushed with Joy's ethereal spirit,
Make your mocks and sly grimaces
At Love's self, and do not fear it.

by George Darley.

On My Dear Grand-Child Simon Bradstreet, Who Dyed On 16. Novemb. 1669. Being But A Moneth, And One D

No sooner come, but gone, and fal'n asleep,
Acquaintance short, yet parting caus'd us weep,
Three flours, two searcely blown, the last i'th' bud,
Cropt by th'Almighties hand; yet is he good,
With dreadful awe before him let's be mute,
Such was his will, but why, let's not dispute,
With humble hearts and mouths put in the dust,
Let's say he's merciful as well as just.
He will return, and make up all our losses,
And smile again, after our bitter crosses.
Go pretty babe, go rest with Sisters twain
Among the blest in endless joyes remain.

by Anne Bradstreet.

A NEW-BORN INFANT, 1821.


She lives-that first pulsation of the heart
Is life!-receive, dear babe, thy destin'd part;
Yet frail thy being as the op'ning rose
When chill the rude wind blows.

But ah, be like the blossom of the vale,
Lov'd infant, shelter'd from the mountain gale;
On whose meek head descend no ruffling showers,
Who lives the span of flowers.

And far from thee may sorrow's tempest bend,
Nor ever wasting pangs the bosom rend;
Calm be thy day of life, and o'er its bloom
May evening mildly come!

by Helen Maria Williams.

To A Younger Child

A Similar Occasion, 17 September, 1825.


Where sucks the bee now? Summer is flying;
Leaves on the grass-plot faded are lying;
Violets are gone from the grassy dell,
With the cowslip-cups, where the fairies dwell;
The rose from the garden hath passed away?
Yet happy, fair boy! is thy natal day.
For love bids it welcome, the love which hath smiled
Ever around thee, my gentle child!
Watching thy footsteps, and guarding thy bed,
And pouring out joy on thy sunny head.
Roses may vanish, but this will stay?
Happy and bright is thy natal day.

by Felicia Dorothea Hemans.

SHE went along the road,
Her baby in her arms,
The night and its alarms
Made deadlier her load.
Her shrunken breasts were dry;
She felt the hunger bite.
She lay down in the night,
She and the child, to die.
But it would wail, and wail,
And wail. She crept away.
She had no word to say,
Yet still she heard it wail.
She took a jagged stone;
She wished it to be dead.
She beat it on the head;
It only gave one moan.
She has no word to say;
She sits there in the night.
The east sky glints with light,
And it is Christmas Day!

by Francis William Lauderdale Adams.

To Mary Field French

A dying mother gave to you
Her child a many years ago;
How in your gracious love he grew,
You know, dear, patient heart, you know.

The mother's child you fostered then
Salutes you now and bids you take
These little children of his pen
And love them for the author's sake.

To you I dedicate this book,
And, as you read it line by line,
Upon its faults as kindly look
As you have always looked on mine.

Tardy the offering is and weak;--
Yet were I happy if I knew
These children had the power to speak
My love and gratitude to you.

by Eugene Field.

O hush, my little baby brother;
Sleep, my love, upon my knee.
What though, dear child, we've lost our mother;
That can never trouble thee.


You are but ten weeks old to-morrow;
What can you know of our loss?
The house is full enough of sorrow.
Little baby, don't be cross.


Peace, cry not so, my dearest love;
Hush, my baby-bird, lie still.-
He's quiet now, he does not move,
Fast asleep is little Will.


My only solace, only joy,
Since the sad day I lost my mother,
Is nursing her own Willy boy,
My little orphan brother.

by Charles Lamb.

Little baby, lay your head
On your pretty cradle-bed;
Shut your eye-peeps, now the day
And the light are gone away;
All the clothes are tucked in tight;
Little baby dear, good night.

Yes, my darling, well I know
How the bitter wind doth blow;
And the winter's snow and rain
Patter on the window-pane:
But they cannot come in here,
To my little baby dear;

For the window shutteth fast,
Till the stormy night is past;
And the curtains warm are spread
Round about her cradle-bed:
So till morning shineth bright,
Little baby dear, good night.

by Jane Taylor.

To A River In Which A Child Was Drowned

Smiling river, smiling river,
On thy bosom sun-beams play;
Though they're fleeting, and retreating,
Thou hast more deceit than they.


In thy channel, in thy channel,
Choak'd with ooze and grav'lly stones,
Deep immersed, and unhearsed,
Lies young Edward's corse: his bones


Ever whitening, ever whitening,
As thy waves against them dash;
What thy torrent, in the current,
Swallow'd, now it helps to wash.


As if senseless, as if senseless
Things had feeling in this case;
What so blindly, and unkindly,
It destroy'd, it now does grace.

by Charles Lamb.

To One Of The Author's Children

On His Birthday, 27 August, 1825.

THOU wak'st from happy sleep to play
With bounding heart, my boy!
Before thee lies a long bright day
Of summer and of joy.

Thou hast no heavy thought or dream
To cloud thy fearless eye;?
Long be it thus?life's early stream
Should still reflect the sky.

Yet ere the cares of life lie dim
On thy young spirit's wings,
Now in thy morn forget not Him
From whom each pure thought springs!

So in the onward vale of tears,
Where'er thy path may be,
When strength hath bowed to evil years?
He will remember thee.

by Felicia Dorothea Hemans.

OH! go to sleep, my baby dear,
And I will hold thee on my knee;
Thy mother's in her winding sheet,
And thou art all that's left to me.
My hairs are white with grief and age,
I've borne the weight of every ill,
And I would lay me with my child,
But thou art left to love me still.

Should thy false father see thy face,
The tears would fill his cruel e'e,
But he has scorned thy mother's wo,
And he shall never look on thee:
But I will rear thee up alone,
And with me thou shalt aye remain;
For thou wilt have thy mother's smile,
And I shall see my child again.

by Joseph Rodman Drake.

Song: Oh! Go To Sleep

Oh! go to sleep, my baby dear,
And I will hold thee on my knee;
Thy mother's in her winding sheet,
And thou art all that's left to me.
My hairs are white with grief and age,
I've borne the weight of every ill,
And I would lay me with my child,
But thou art left to love me still.

Should thy false father see thy face,
The tears would fill his cruel e'e,
But he has scorned thy mother's woe,
And he shall never look on thee:
But I will rear thee up alone,
And with me thou shalt aye remain;
For thou wilt have thy mother's smile,
And I shall see my child again.

by Joseph Rodman Drake.

In law an infant, and in years a boy,
In mind a slave to every vicious joy;
From every sense of shame and virtue wean'd;
In lies an adept, in deceit a fiend;
Versed in hypocrisy, while yet a child;
Fickle as wind, of inclinations wild;
Women his dupe, his heedless friend a tool;
Old in the world, though scarcely broke from school;
Damætas ran through all the maze of sin,
And found the goal when others just begin:
Even still conflicting passions shake his soul,
And bid him drain the dregs of pleasure's bowl;
But, pall'd with vice, he breaks his former chain,
And what was once his bliss appears his bane.

by George Gordon Byron.

An Angel In The House

How sweet it were, if without feeble fright,
Or dying of the dreadful beauteous sight,
An angel came to us, and we could bear
To see him issue from the silent air
At evening in our room, and bend on ours
His divine eyes, and bring us from his bowers
News of dear friends, and children who have never
Been dead indeed,--as we shall know forever.
Alas! we think not what we daily see
About our hearths,--angels that are to be,
Or may be if they will, and we prepare
Their souls and ours to meet in happy air;--
A child, a friend, a wife whose soft heart sings
In unison with ours, breeding its future wings.

by James Henry Leigh Hunt.

The Infanticide

She took her babe, the child of shame and sin,
And wrapped it warmly in her shawl and went
From house to house for work. Propriety bent
A look of wonder on her; raised a din
Of Christian outrage. None would take her in.
All that she had was gone; had long been spent.
Penniless and hungry by the road she leant,
No friend to go to and no one of kin.
The babe at last began to cry for food.
Her breasts were dry; she had no milk to give.
She was so tired and cold. What could she do?
... The next day in a pool within a wood
They found the babe.... 'Twas hard enough to live,
She found, for one; impossible for two.

by Madison Julius Cawein.

As When A Child...

As when a child on some long winter's night
Affrighted clinging to its Grandam's knees
With eager wond'ring and perturbed delight
Listens strange tales of fearful dark decrees
Muttered to wretch by necromantic spell;
Or of those hags, who at the witching time
Of murky midnight ride the air sublime,
And mingle foul embrace with fiends of Hell:
Cold Horror drinks its blood! Anon the tear
More gentle starts, to hear the Beldame tell
Of pretty babes, that loved each other dear,
Murdered by cruel Uncle's mandate fell:
Ev'n such the shiv'ring joys thy tones impart,
Ev'n so thou, Siddons! meltest my sad heart!

by Charles Lamb.

Sonnet Lxxviii. Snowdrops

WAN Heralds of the sun and summer gale!
That seem just fallen from infant Zephyrs' wing;
Not now, as once, with heart revived I hail
Your modest buds, that for the brow of Spring
Form the first simple garland--Now no more
Escaping for a moment all my cares,
Shall I, with pensive, silent, step explore
The woods yet leafless; where to chilling airs
Your green and pencil'd blossoms, trembling, wave.
Ah! ye soft, transient, children of the ground,
More fair was she on whose untimely grave
Flow my unceasing tears! Their varied round
The Seasons go; while I through all repine:
For fix'd regret, and hopeless grief are mine.

by Charlotte Smith.

David’s Child

IN face of a great sorrow like to death
How do we wrestle night and day with tears;
How do we fast and pray; how small appears
The outside world, while, hanging on some breath
Of fragile hope, the chamber where we lie
Includes all space.--But if sudden at last
The blow falls; or by incredulity
Fond led, we--never having one thought cast
Towards years where 'the child' was not--see it die,
And with it all our future, all our past,--
We just look round us with a dull surprise:
For lesser pangs we had filled earth with cries
Of wild and angry grief that would be heard:--
But when the heart is broken--not a word.

by Dinah Maria Mulock Craik.

(FROM THE GERMAN OF MARTIN LUTHER)

O heart of mine! lift up thine eyes
And see who in yon manger lies!
Of perfect form, of face divine--
It is the Christ-child, heart of mine!

O dearest, holiest Christ-child, spread
Within this heart of mine thy bed;
Then shall my breast forever be
A chamber consecrate to thee!

Beat high to-day, O heart of mine,
And tell, O lips, what joys are thine;
For with your help shall I prolong
Old Bethlehem's sweetest cradle-song.

Glory to God, whom this dear Child
Hath by His coming reconciled,
And whose redeeming love again
Brings peace on earth, good will to men!

by Eugene Field.

The Child Impaled

Beside the path, on either hand,
To keep the garden beds,
The rusted iron pickets stand
Thin shafts and pointed heads.

And straight my spirit swooping goes
Across the waves of time
Till I'm a little boy who knows
A fence is made to climb;

And bed and lawn and gloomy space
By thicket overgrown
Are wonderlands where I may trace
The beckoning Unknown.

But O the cruelty that strikes
My elder heart with dread
The writhing form upon the spikes,
The trickled pool of red!

So, every day I pass and see
The fence the urchin scales,
The little boy stands up in me
To curse the iron rails.

by John Le Gay Brereton.

Garden And Cradle

When our babe he goeth walking in his garden,
Around his tinkling feet the sunbeams play;
The posies they are good to him,
And bow them as they should to him,
As fareth he upon his kingly way;
And birdlings of the wood to him
Make music, gentle music, all the day,
When our babe he goeth walking in his garden.

When our babe he goeth swinging in his cradle,
Then the night it looketh ever sweetly down;
The little stars are kind to him,
The moon she hath a mind to him
And layeth on his head a golden crown;
And singeth then the wind to him
A song, the gentle song of Bethlem-town,
When our babe he goeth swinging in his cradle.

by Eugene Field.

Children devoted to God. [For those who practise infant Baptism.]

Gen. 17:7,10; Acts 16:14,15,33.

Thus saith the mercy of the Lord,
"I'll be a God to thee;
I'll bless thy num'rous race, and they
Shall be a seed for me."

Abram believed the promised grace,
And gave his sons to God;
But water seals the blessing now,
That once was sealed with blood.

Thus Lydia sanctified her house,
When she received the word;
Thus the believing jailer gave
His household to the Lord.

Thus later saints, eternal King!
Thine ancient truth embrace;
To thee their infant offspring bring,
And humbly claim the grace.

by Isaac Watts.

About The Little Girl That Beat Her Sister

Go, go, my naughty girl, and kiss
Your little sister dear;
I must not have such things as this,
And noisy quarrels here.

What! little children scratch and fight,
That ought to be so mild;
Oh! Mary, it's a shocking sight
To see an angry child.

I can't imagine, for my part,
The reason for your folly;
She did not do you any hurt
By playing with your dolly.

See, see, the little tears that run
Fast from her watery eye:
Come, my sweet innocent, have done,
'Twill do no good to cry.

Go, Mary, wipe her tears away,
And make it up with kisses:
And never turn a pretty play
To such a pet as this is.

by Ann Taylor.

Epitaph On The Tombstone Of A Child

This Little, Silent, Gloomy Monument,
Contains all that was sweet and innocent ;
The softest pratler that e'er found a Tongue,
His Voice was Musick and his Words a Song ;
Which now each List'ning Angel smiling hears,
Such pretty Harmonies compose the Spheres;
Wanton as unfledg'd Cupids, ere their Charms
Has learn'd the little arts of doing harms ;
Fair as young Cherubins, as soft and kind,
And tho translated could not be refin'd ;
The Seventh dear pledge the Nuptial Joys had given,
Toil'd here on Earth, retir'd to rest in Heaven ;
Where they the shining Host of Angels fill,
Spread their gay wings before the Throne, and smile.

by Aphra Behn.

On The Death Of An Infant

Blest Babe! it at length has withdrawn,
The Seraphs have rock'd it to sleep;
Away with an angelic smile it has gone,
And left a sad parent to weep!


It soars from the ocean of pain,
On breezes of precious perfume;
O be not discouraged when death is but gain--
The triumph of life from the tomb.


With pleasure I thought it my own,
And smil'd on its infantile charms;
But some mystic bird, like an eagle, came down,
And snatch'd it away from my arms.


Blest Babe, it ascends into Heaven,
It mounts with delight at the call;
And flies to the bosom from whence it was given,
The Parent and Patron of all.

by George Moses Horton.

A Child Of The Snows

There is heard a hymn when the panes are dim,
And never before or again,
When the nights are strong with a darkness long,
And the dark is alive with rain.

Never we know but in sleet and in snow,
The place where the great fires are,
That the midst of the earth is a raging mirth
And the heart of the earth a star.

And at night we win to the ancient inn
Where the child in the frost is furled,
We follow the feet where all souls meet
At the inn at the end of the world.

The gods lie dead where the leaves lie red,
For the flame of the sun is flown,
The gods lie cold where the leaves lie gold,
And a Child comes forth alone.

by Gilbert Keith Chesterton.

Death Of An Infant

Death found strange beauty on that cherub brow,
And dash'd it out. There was a tint of rose
On cheek and lip;--he touch'd the veins with ice,
And the rose faded.--Forth from those blue eyes
There spoke a wishful tenderness,--a doubt
Whether to grieve or sleep, which Innocence
Alone can wear. With ruthless haste he bound
The silken fringes of the curtaining lids
For ever. There had been a murmuring sound
With which the babe would claim its mother's ear,
Charming her even to tears. The spoiler set
His seal of silence. But there beam'd a smile
So fix'd and holy from that marble brow,--
Death gazed and left it there;--he dared not steal
The signet-ring of Heaven.

by Lydia Huntley Sigourney.

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