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POEMS REFERRING TO THE PERIOD OF CHILDHOOD

"MY HEART LEAPS UP WHEN I BEHOLD"

My heart leaps up when I behold

A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,

Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.

TO A BUTTERFLY

Stay near me, do not take thy flight!

A little longer stay in sight!

Much converse do I find in thee,

Historian of my infancy!

Float near me; do not yet depart!

Dead times revive in thee:

Thou bring'st, gay creature as thou art!

A solemn image to my heart,

My father's family!

Oh! pleasant, pleasant were the days,
The time, when in our childish plays,

My sister Emmeline and I

Together chased the butterfly!

A very hunter did I rush

Upon the prey; with leaps and springs

I followed on from brake to bush;

But she, God love her! feared to brush

The dust from off its wings.

THE SPARROW'S NEST

Behold, within the leafy shade,
Those bright blue eggs together laid!
On me the chance-discovered sight
Gleamed like a vision of delight.
I started seeming to espy
The home and sheltered bed,
The Sparrow's dwelling, which, hard by
My Father's house, in wet or dry
My sister Emmeline and I
Together visited.

She looked at it, and seemed to fear it;
Dreading, tho' wishing, to be near it:
Such heart was in her, being then
A little prattler among men.
The blessing of my later years
Was with me when a boy:
She gave me eyes, she gave me ears;
And humble cares, and delicate fears;
A heart, the fountain of sweet tears;
And love, and thought, and joy.

WE ARE SEVEN

A Simple Child,

That lightly draws its breath,
And feels its life in every limb,
What should it know of death?

I met a little cottage Girl:
She was eight years old, she said;
Her hair was thick with many a curl
That clustered round her head.

She had a rustic, woodland air,
And she was wildly clad:
Her eyes were fair, and very fair;
—Her beauty made me glad.

"Sisters and brothers, little maid,
How many may you be?"
"How many? Seven in all," she said,
And wondering looked at me.

"And where are they? I pray you tell."
She answered, "Seven are we;
And two of us at Conway dwell,
And two are gone to sea.

"Two of us in the church-yard lie,
My sister and my brother;
And, in the church-yard cottage, I
Dwell near them with my mother."

"You say that two at Conway dwell,
And two are gone to sea,
Yet ye are seven! I pray you tell,
Sweet Maid, how this may be."

Then did the little Maid reply,
"Seven boys and girls are we;
Two of us in the church-yard lie,
Beneath the church-yard tree."

"You run about, my little Maid,
Your limbs they are alive;
If two are in the church-yard laid,
Then ye are only five."

"Their graves are green, they may be seen,"
The little Maid replied,

"Twelve steps or more from my mother's door, And they are side by side.

"My stockings there I often knit,
My kerchief there I hem;
And there upon the ground I sit,
And sing a song to them.

"And often after sun-set, Sir,
When it is light and fair,
I take my little porringer,
And eat my supper there.

"The first that died was sister Jane;
In bed she moaning lay,
Till God released her of her pain;
And then she went away.

"So in the church-yard she was laid;
And, when the grass was dry,
Together round her grave we played,
My brother John and I.

"And when the ground was white with snow,

And I could run and slide,

My brother John was forced to go,

And he lies by her side."

"How many are you, then," said I,
"If they two are in heaven?"
Quick was the little Maid's reply,
"O Master! we are seven."

"But they are dead; those two are dead!
Their spirits are in heaven!"
'Twas throwing words away; for still
The little Maid would have her will,
And said, "Nay, we are seven!"

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