I called her baby once; she lay
A helpless burden in Love’s arms;
I curled the rings of shining gold,
And watched the swift unfolding charms;
I sang her lullabies each eve,
I tucked her up, with a kiss on kiss,
A thought the world could never hold,
For me a purer, sweeter bliss.
And then a dimpled lassie sat,
Morn, noon, and night, beside my knee,
The babe was precious, and the child
Seemed just as dear and sweet to me;
For her I rifled summer’s wealth,
Robbed winter if its hoarded store,
And told the old enchanted tales,
The fairies’ lore conned o’er and o’er.
Anon a quiet school-girl came,
Books and study filled the years,
No stole one tithe of all the love
That blinded me with jealous fears;
Her mind unfolded day by day,
Till all too soon, a maiden stood
Upon that shore where childhood’s grace
Is merged in glorious womanhood.
An orange wreath now crowns her brow,
Love’s golden pledge is on her hand,
And just as in the olden time,
With folded hands, alone I stand!
A shadow dims the dear old place -
There’s something gone for which I grieve;
Nor bloom, nor song, nor sun can light
The firesides that our daughters leave