Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 7/The mistake of the loves


To-day, as idly in my chair,
I, hardly half-awake, was dreaming,
Methought, in through the sunny air,
A swarm of laughing loves came streaming,
Winged mischiefs, here and there, without
My leave, the wantons gleamed and fluttered,
Buzzing, like bees, the room about,
Ere half a sentence could be uttered.

In fact, with such glad hushed surprise,
I saw the little urchins flying,
Like humming-birds, before my eyes,
In every nook and corner prying,
Now handling this—now into that
With childish laughs and chatter peeping,
I did not care to stay their chat,
But silent sat as I’d been sleeping.

What would they do? Quick, every one
Found every moment new employment:
They paused at last; well, now what fun
Would yield their smallships fresh employment?
My scrap-book lay before me there;
One saw, and straightway courage mustered,
Helped by five more, the prize to bear
To where all close around it clustered.

Swift over, leaf on leaf was turned;
Small praise, each sketch, while passing under
Those tiny curious quick eyes, earned,
Till, ah! at last, one waked their wonder;
My pencil there had vainly tried,
How vainly! as it oft had striven,
To do that unto it denied—
Image the beauty to you given.

Yet passion there, to labouring art,
A strength beyond its own had granted;
Enough was there to make them start,
However much of you was wanted;
Eyes, dimples, hair, those peeping pearls,
As those red lips so archly show them,
They saw them, and, O flower of girls!
How strange! at once they seemed to know them.
O what a storm of pretty noise,
Of cries and clappings straight I heard then,
Of little feet that stamped the joys,
Enough their small tongues couldn’t word then;
What with delight could thrill them so!
Hardly my wonder I could smother;
Till, listening, soon I laughed to know,
They, in your likeness, saw their mother.

W. C. Bennett.