(Of my Brother’s infant Son, February 21, 1839.)
THERE is a sound of laughter light and gay,
And hurried welcomes, as of joyful greeting;
The stir and murmur of a holiday,
The grouping of glad friends each other meeting:
And in the midst art THOU–thou tiny flower,
Whose coming hath so cheer’d this wintry hour!
Helpless thou liest, young blossom of our love!
The sunshine of fond smiles around thee beaming,
Blessings call’d down on thee from Heaven above,
And every heart about thy future dreaming:–
Meek peace and utter innocence are now
The sole expression of thy baby brow.
Helpless thou liest, thy little waxen face
Eagerly scann’d by our inquiring glances,
Hoping some lovely likeness there to trace,
Which fancy finds, and so thy worth enhances;
Clothing with thought mature, and power of mind,
Those infant features, yet so faintly lined.
And still thy youthful mother bendeth down
Her large, soft, loving eyes, brimful of gladness,
Her cheek almost as waxen as thine own,
Her heart as innocently free from sadness:
And still a brighter smile her red lip wears,
As each her young son’s loveliness declares.
And sometimes as we gaze a sigh is heard,
(Though from the happy group all grief seems banished,)
As thou recallest, little nestling bird,
Some long familiar face whose light hath vanish’d;
Some name, which yet hath power our hearts to thrill–
Some smile, whose buried beauty haunts us still!
Ah! most to Her, the early widow’d, come
Thoughts of the blossoms that from earth have perish’d;
Lost to her lone and solitary home,
Though in her brooding memory fondly cherish’d:–
Her little grandson’s baby-smiles recall
Not one regretted hope of youth, but all!
Her Son’s son lies upon her cradling knee,
And bids her heart return, with mournful dreaming,
To her own first-born’s helpless infancy,
When hope-youth’s guiding star-was brightly beaming;
And He, who died too soon, stood by and smiled,
And bless’d alike the mother and her child.
Since then, how many a year hath fleeted past!
What unforeseen events, what joys, what sorrows,
With sunshine or with clouds have overcast
The long succession of her lonely morrows;
Ere musing o’er this fair and new-born face,
A fresh link carried on her orphan’d Race!
Fair child, that race is not by man’s award
Ennobled,–but by God; no titles sounded
By herald’s trump, or smooth and flattering bard,
Proclaim within what lines thy rank is bounded:–
Thy power hereditary none confine,
The gift of Genius, boy, by right is thine!
Be humble, for it is an envied thing;
And men whose creeping hearts have long submitted
Around the column’d height to clasp and cling
Of Titled Pride–by man to man transmitted,–
Will grudge the power they have less cause to dread,
Oppose thee living, and malign when dead.
One of thy lineage served his country well
(Though with her need her gratitude departed);
What in her memory now is left to dwell?
The faults of him who died half broken-hearted:–
And those, whose envious hands ne’er stretch’d to save,
Pluck down the laurels springing from his grave.
Yet hush! it is a solemn hour; and far
Be human bitterness and vain upbraiding;
With hope we watch thy rising, thou young star,
Hope not all earthly, or it were too fading;
For we are met to usher in thy life,
With Prayer,–which lifteth hearts, and quelleth strife!
Hush’d is the busy group, and still as death;
All at the sacred altar meekly kneeling;
For thy sake, who so lately drew thy breath,
All unto Heaven with earnest heart appealing.
A solemn voice addresses the Most High,
And with a murmuring echo we reply.
All holy be the hour! and, oh! may Heaven
Look down and bless the anxious mother’s part,
As meekly she confides the treasure given
So lately to her young and hoping heart;
And pleads that God’s great love may be his stay,
And guide her little Wanderer on his way.
So let it be! and when the noble head
Of thy true-hearted father, babe beloved,
Now glossy dark, is silver-gray instead,
And thy young birth-day far away removed;
Still may’st thou be a comfort and a joy,–
Still welcome as this day, unconscious boy!