Littell's Living Age/Volume 138/Issue 1779/To a Child


E. T. G.

Thou hast the colors of the spring,
The gold of kingcups triumphing,
The blue of wood-bells wild;
But winter thoughts thy spirit fill,
And thou art wandering from us still,
Too young to be our child.

Yet have thy fleeting smiles confessed,
Thou dear and much-desired guest,
That home is near at last;
Long lost in high mysterious lands,
Close by our door thy spirit stands,
Its journey well-nigh past.

Oh, sweet bewildered soul, I watch
The fountains of thine eyes, to catch
New fancies bubbling there,
To feel our common light, and lose
The flush of strange ethereal hues
Too dim for us to share!

Fade, cold immortal lights, and make
This creature human for my sake,
Since I am nought but clay;
An angel is too fine a thing
To sit beside my chair and sing,
And cheer my passing day.

I smile, who could not smile, unless
The air of rapt unconsciousness
Passed, with the fading hours;
I joy in every childish sign
That proves the stranger less divine
And much more meekly ours.

I smile, as one by night who sees,
Through mist of newly-budded trees,
The clear Orion set,
And knows that soon the dawn will fly
In fire across the riven sky,
And gild the woodlands wet.

Athenæum.Edmund W. Gosse.