Most of the simple verses which compose this volume were written for a very dear child, with no thought beyond her gratification. They are published at the request of friends, with the hope that other children may derive the same pleasure from them as the little one for whom they were first intended.
Boston, Dec. 4, 1850.
1. THE FIRST HYMN 2. MORNING HYMN 3. EVENING HYMN 4. CROSS LOOKS 5. SELFISHNESS 6. THE CAT 7. STUDY FIRST 8. THE BABY 9. I AM HAPPY WHEN I DO RIGHT 10. THE BEGGAR GIRL 11. THE GIRL WHO WOULD NOT BE WASHED 12. THE SPIDER 13. MORNING HYMN 14. EVENING HYMN 15. THE LAUNCH 16. SUNDAY 17. THE MEDDLESOME CHILD 18. GOD SEES ME ALWAYS 19. THE ARK AND THE DOVE 20. THE BEE 21. SUNDAY 22. THE PLEASANT WORLD 23. SAMUEL 24. THE BIRD'S NEST 25. GOD LOVES US 26. MOSES 27. ANGER 28. WHAT THE BIRDS SAY 29. THE MONKEY 30. THE SHEEP IN HEAVEN 31. TWILIGHT 32. THE WRONG STORY 33. THE BALLAD 34. THE CHILD'S QUESTION 35. SUNDAY NIGHT 36. HAGAR AND ISHMAEL 37. EVENING HYMN 38. THE FIRST VIOLET 39. CHRISTMAS 40. NEW YEAR 41. EVENING HYMN 42. SOAP-BUBBLES 43. SPRING 44. SUMMER 45. AUTUMN 46. WINTER 47. "GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD" 48. WILLIE IN HEAVEN 49. THE ANGELS 50. THE CHILDHOOD OF JESUS 51. THE FISHERS 52. THE RAINBOW 53. SONG FOR MAY MORNING 54. THE CHILD AND THE FLOWER-ELF 55. THE FOUR GIFTS 56. THE TWO LULLABIES
THE FIRST HYMN.
God made the bright, round sun; He made the pretty flowers; The little birds, the trees, the clouds The rain that falls in showers.
He made papa, mamma, And baby brother, too; And mother says He looks from Heaven, And sees each thing I do.
Then I must try to be Pleasant, and sweet, and mild; For the good God who made me loves A kind, obedient child.
Now again the yellow sun Shines upon my window-pane; Now anothor day's begun, I can laugh and play again.
I must try to-day to be Kind in all I say and do; Then will God be pleased with me, And mamma will love me too.
For she says that God above Loves to see a little child Sweet and gentle as the dove, Like the pretty lamb so mild.
Now the sun hath gone to rest, Stars are coming faint and dim, And the bird within his nest Sweetly sings his evening hymn.
Have I tried mamma to mind? Was I gentle in my play? Have I been a true and kind, Pleasant little girl to-day?
Then will God take care of me Kindly, through the long dark night; Bright and happy, I shall see Once again the morning light.
Why, what a frightful face is this! And what has happened, sir, amiss? Come, let me wipe these tears away, And see no more cross looks to-day.
If Kate did throw your blocks about, She's very sorry, I've no doubt; And here she stands to tell you so, And build another house, I know.
No tears and crying here must be, So have a pleasant smile for me. There, that will do,—now run away, And kindly with your sister play.
I MUST NOT BE SELFISH.
When I play with little children I must very gentle be; I must always do to others As I'd have them do to me.
I must like to give and lend them, If they want my prettiest toy; More than my delight and pleasure I must love my playmate's joy.
Children who are kind and loving God above is pleased to see; Let me ever this remember, Ever sweet and pleasant be.
Stop, naughty pussy! that's not fair! Jump down this minute from the chair! You've eaten my nice slice of bread. And here are only crumbs instead.
I for a minute left the room To listen to the "Buy a broom," And now I think it's quite too bad That you my luncheon should have had.
Her mother said, "My dear, if you Had done what you were told to do, And put the plate upon the shelf, You might have had the bread yourself.
"But if you have no thought nor care, And leave your luncheon on a chair, You must not blame poor pussy-cat; She knows no better, dear, than that.
"The one who left her bread about Upon the chair, while she went out,— The one who hangs her head for shame,— My little girl's the one to blame!"
No, Robbie! you can go away; I am not ready yet to play; For I must learn these words to spell, That I may say my lesson well.
How sad our dear mamma would look, To find that I had left my book! And if I disobeyed her so, My play would not be gay, I know.
I'll learn my lesson very soon, And then I'll run with you till noon; So, Robbie, you can go away, And presently I'll come and play.
We've the dearest baby sister! And so small and sweet is she, That we love to stand beside her, All her cunning ways to see.
She can talk in baby language, She can laugh, and she can crow; She's the pet and she's the darling, She's the sweetest one we know.
Mother says that she will always Be a sweet and gentle child, If, in all our actions towards her, We are loving, good, and mild.
Let us, then, be kind and pleasant Ever to our little pet; Nor to thank the God who gave her, Morn and night, let us forget.
I AM HAPPY WHEN I DO RIGHT.
How glad it makes me feel at night, When sitting on my mother's knee, To hear her whisper "You've done right, And tried my gentle child to be."
But then I feel ashamed and sad If I've been cross and disobeyed, Or if my selfish way I've had When I with other children played.
So if at night I'd call to mind A day of undisturbed delight, The only way that I can find Is to be loving and do right.
THE LITTLE BEGGAR-GIRL.
I've just looked from the window To see the snow come down, And make the streets look nice and white, That lately were so brown.
I've seen a little beggar-girl Go by in all the cold; She had no shoes nor stockings on, Her dress was torn and old.
How thankful I should be to God, Who gives me clothes and food, A nice warm fire, a pleasant home, And parents kind and good!
Mamma, I'll always try to help The hungry and the poor; For those who are not warmed and fed, I pity, I am sure.
THE CHILD WHO WOULD NOT BE WASHED
"Don't wash me, pray, mamma, today," I once heard little Jennie say, "For oh! so very hard you rub, I never want to see my tub."
"O, very well," her mother said; "I'll put you back again to bed; And you must in your night-gown stay, Nor come down stairs at all to-day."
And then I heard Miss Jennie cry, And beg mamma to let her try; And say, as she had done before, That she'd so naughty be no more.
Her mother turned and left her there; She heard her step upon the stair; But in her chamber, all day long, She staid alone, for doing wrong.
She heard her sister jump and run, And longed to join her in her fun; Her brother made a snow-man high; But she upon her bed must lie.
She heard the merry sleigh-bells ring, And to the door come clattering; But Jennie could not go to ride In night-clothes by her father's side.
And glad was she, as you may guess, The next day to put on her dress; She ran and told her mother then She never would do so again.
Don't kill the spider, little Fred, But come and stand by me, And watch him spin that slender thread, Which we can hardly see.
How patiently, now up, now down, He brings that tiny line! He never stops, but works right on, And weaves his web so fine.
You could not make a thread so small, If you should try all day; So never hurt him, dear, at all, But spare him in your play.
Now a new day just begun, I'll try to spend it well; That I may have, when eveningcomes, No naughty deeds to tell.
So through my life may every day Be better than the past; That God may take me, when I die, To live in heaven at last.
The sun has set behind the hill, The bird is sleeping in his nest; And now, when all around is still, I lay me down to welcome rest.
May the kind God, who lives above, And watches o'er us day and night, Bless us, and grant us, in His love, Again to see the morning light.
Come, sister Ellen, get your hat And come away with me; My boat, all rigged with mast and sail, I want you so to see!
Do you upon the landing stand, While here I'll kneel and blow, So that the little "Water-witch" Beneath the arch may go.
There! there! she's off! how fast she goes Across the river wide! I'd love to sit in her myself, And o'er the water glide.
When I'm a man I'll have a boat, And every sunny day, We'll take a long and pleasant sail, Till daylight fades away.
God made the day of rest, The holy Sabbath day, For us to think and talk of Him, And not for work or play.
I'll put away my toys Safely, the night before; And Sundays I'll be very still, Till Monday comes once more.
And then mamma will say, That, though I am so small, I yet can please the great, good God, Who takes care of us all.
I love these Sabbath days, Which God to us doth give; And may I love them more and more, Each day and year I live!
THE MEDDLESOME CHILD.
Little Lucy was left in the room once alone, Where the table was set out for tea; She looked all around, and she thought to herself That no one was there who could see.
Then she climbed on a chair and took off the top Of the sugar-bowl, shining and bright; And there were the lumps of the sugar she loved, All looking so nice and so white!
Then she said to herself, "Mamma never will know, If I take away only just one;" So she took it, and ate it;—it tasted so good, She thought, "But one more, and I've done."
But while she was reaching her hand out for more, The chair slipped away from her feet; And poor little Lucy soon wished much that she Had not taken the sugar so sweet:
For her head struck the floor, and made such a noise, That every one hastened to see; And all of them knew, by the sugar she held, How naughty Miss Lucy could be!
And no one was sorry, although her poor head Ached sadly because of her fall; For little girls never—so every one said— Should taste or should meddle at all.
GOD SEES ME ALWAYS.
God sees me always. When I sleep, He kindly watches near; He loves the little child to keep, Who tries to please Him here.
When I'm alone He sees me too, Though no one else is by; And every naughty thing I do, He sees it from on high.
He sees me, too, when I am rude, And cry, and fret, and tease; He loves to see me when I'm good And try mamma to please.
Then, since He sees me day and night, And is so kind to me, I must do always what is right, His gentle child must be.
THE ARK AND THE DOVE.
A rain once fell upon the earth For many a day and night, And hid the flowers, the grass, the trees, The birds and beasts, from sight.
The deep waves covered all the land, And mountain-tops so high; And nothing could be seen around, But water, and the sky.
But yet there was one moving thing,— A still and lonely ark,— That, many a weary day and night, Sailed o'er that ocean dark.
At last, a little dove was forth From that lone vessel sent; But, wearied, to the ark again, When evening came, she bent.
Again she went, but soon returned, And in her beak was seen A little twig—an olive-branch— With leaves of shining green.
The waters sank, and then the dove Flew from the ark once more, And came not back, but lived among The tree-tops, as before.
Then from the ark they all came forth, With songs of joy and praise; And once again the green earth smiled Beneath the sun's warm rays.
Now, Ellen, stop screaming and running away, And come here and listen to me; Is it true, my dear daughter, I want you to say, That you're foolishly scared by a bee?
The bee is as frightened as you are, my dear, For he can't tell the way to get out; And as for his sting, that you never need fear, If you do not run crying about.
If you were to catch him, why, then, I dare say You'd soon feel his sharp little sting; But if you sit still at your work or your play, Be sure that no harm he will bring.
So wipe off these tears and never again Give way to so foolish a fright; For if you indulge it 't will cost you much pain And no one will want you in sight.
'T is Sunday morning, dear mamma! I do not wish to play; Last night I put my dolls and toys Safe in my box away.
I'll come and sit down by your side, While you the story tell Of the good little Joseph, whom His father loved so well.
And of the time when waters dark Covered the world around; And all but Noah in his ark, Beneath the waves were drowned.
And of the gentle dove, that forth O'er those wide waters flew, And twice, with weary wing, returned, No resting-place in view.
And how the infant Moses, too, Floated the Nile along; And how his mother made for him The basket cradle strong.
Please tell these Bible-stories then, And take me on your knee, And I'll sit still, my dear mamma, And listen quietly.
THE PLEASANT WORLD.
I love to see the sun go down Behind the western hill; I love to see the night come on, When everything is still.
I love to see the moon and stars Shine brightly in the sky; I love to see the rolling clouds Above my head so high.
I love to see the little flowers That grow up from the ground; To hear the wind blow through the trees, And make a rustling sound.
I love to see the sheep and lambs So happy in their play; I love to hear the small birds sing Sweetly, at close of day.
I love to see them all, because They are so bright and fair; And He who made this pleasant world Will listen to my prayer.
In Bible times so long ago, And in a far-off city, too, A mother watched her only child As he in strength and beauty grew.
And when his little tottering feet Had scarcely learned to go alone,— Before his baby voice could speak Her name, with a sweet, joyous tone,—
She took her boy and travelled on, Away from home, for many a mile, That with a good and holy man Her darling son might live a while;
That he might learn about the God Who made the earth and sea and sky; And then she left him there and turned Back to her home, with many a sigh.
She could not place him on her knee And tell him he was very dear; And so she made a little coat And brought it to him every year.
But you, my little girl, can learn, While you are sitting close by me, Of heaven, and that kind God above, Who made in love each thing we see.
And you should thank Him every day, That you can here His goodness know; And from your pleasant, happy home, And your dear parents, need not go.
THE BIRD'S NEST.
What is Harry thinking of, Sitting on that mossy stone? All his brothers are at play; Why is he so still and lone?
He is musing earnestly; And the flutterings of the bird And its pleading, feeble chirp Fall upon his ear unheard.
Well may little Harry think! From the pear-tree's withered bough He has brought the pretty nest, Placed within his hat-crown now.
That is why he sits alone; And he hears a voice within, Louder than the Robin's note, Crying, "Harry, this is sin!"
Then put back the nest, my boy, So you will be glad and free, Nor will hasten by in shame, When you pass that withered tree.
GOD LOVES US.
"How beautiful it is, mamma, That God should love us all; That He should listen to their prayer, When little children call!
"What shall I do for him, mamma? For He's so kind to me,— How shall I show my love to Him Who made bird, flower and tree?"
"The only thing which you can do Is this, my darling child, Be always gentle, full of love, In words and actions mild.
"Thus you will show your love to God Who is so kind to you; And you will live with Him at last In His bright heaven, too."
THE STORY OF MOSES.
"Tell me a Sunday story," A dear child said to me; And I bent down and kissed her And placed her on my knee.
"Once, long ago, in countries Far, very far away, Where the cold snow-storm never comes, And all is bright and gay,
"There lived a king, so cruel, He gave this stern command, That all the little children Must die, throughout the land.
"But still there was one mother Who kept her baby dear, And quickly hushed its crying, In silence and in fear;
"But when she could no longer Her precious baby hide, She did not like to throw him Upon the rushing tide;
"And so a little basket She made, of rushes stout, And plastered it with clay and pitch To keep the water out.
"Then in this basket-cradle She put the little child; And quietly he floated down Among the rushes wild.
"Just then the king's own daughter Came to the water's edge, And saw the basket floating Among the grass and sedge.
"She drew it from the water, And called the babe her own, And kept him till to be a man That little boy had grown.
"And when you read the Bible,— Which you will learn to do,— You'll see how great and good he was, And how God loved him, too."
"When a child is cross and angry, Never must her voice be heard; Only to herself most softly May she say this simple word,
"Lead us not into temptation;" That will angry thoughts remove, Make her calm and still and gentle, With a spirit full of love.
WHAT THE BIRDS SAY.
"I hear the birds sing, mother, Yet know not what they say; I've listened to them often Until they flew away.
"Say if their words, dear mother, To you are clear and plain, Or if, like me, you've listened At morn and night in vain."
"We don't know what they say, dear; We think they sing their hymn At early morning sunrise, Or at the twilight dim.
"When softly sings the mother, Within her downy nest, We think she's gently hushing Her little ones to rest.
"But this remember, darling, The birds are always kind; A cross or angry songster I never yet could find.
"And you may learn a lesson From their sweet notes of love; Like them be always gentle, And please the God above."
"O Mother! here's the organ-man, And here's the monkey, too! Just see his funny gown of red, And little cap of blue!
"O look! he's on the window there! His cap is in his paw; And now he bows and makes a face; What can it all be for?
"O, now they've dropped some money in, While, quickly as he can, See! he puts on his cap, and gives The pennies to the man.
"Mamma! why don't you look at him! You have not seen at all; Just see him climbing up and down, With paws so brown and small!
"He's gone away! O, dear mamma, Why did you not come here? You never saw, in all your life, A thing one half as queer."
"I'll tell you why, my little son, I do not like to see That monkey bow and jump about; 'Tis no delight to me.
"They've had to treat him cruelly To teach him how to play; They've had to whip and punish him And take his food away.
"And that is why I do not love To see him dancing so; And if you thought of it, my boy, You'd feel with me, I know."
THE SHEEP IN HEAVEN.
"Come to the window, mother! Look out, and you will see How fast these little clouds sail on, Above our old elm tree!
"And tell me, dearest mother, Are these the sheep of heaven, That in that land are feeding, From morning until even?
"How soft and white and shining! Oh! say, dear mother, there Is everything so gentle, So lovely and so fair?"
"We cannot see them, darling, The sheep of heaven, here; And far more beautiful than this Does that bright land appear.
"Eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, Nor tongue of man can tell The glories of that home above, Where all the good shall dwell."
The happiest hour of all the day To me, is always last; When both my studies and my play, My walks and work, are past.
When round the bright warm fire we come, With hearts so light and free, And all within our happy home Are talking quietly,
Then, by my dear, kind father's side I sit, or on his knee, And then I tell him I have tried His gentle girl to be.
And then he says the little child Is loved by every one, Who has a temper sweet and mild And smiling as the sun.
Let me do always as I should, Nor vex my father dear; And let me be as glad and good As he would have me here.
THE WRONG STORY.
"My little Edward, how could you Tell me a thing that was not true? And make me feel thus grieved and sad To find I have a child so bad?
"And then, to do a deed so mean, And wish by that yourself to screen! Would you have had me blame poor Tray, And send him from the fire away?
"O! never, when you've disobeyed, Or by your mischief trouble made, Think that a wicked act is right Because you hide it from my sight.
"It will be always seen by One, Who knows each wrong that you have done; And I shall know it too, no doubt, For sin must always find you out.
"I cannot let you here to-day With me and little sisters stay; But you must go up stairs alone, Till you a better boy have grown."
"Come hither, little brothers, And listen now to me, And I will read a story To both, while at my knee."
Then Johnnie's flag hung idly, And Charlie hushed his drum; To hear sweet Mary's story The mimic soldiers come.
"'Tis of a boy no larger, My little Charles, than you; But he had been in battle, And all its terrors knew.
"His father was a captain; He had no child beside; And while he was an infant His mother dear had died.
"And so from camp to battle, From fight to camp again, Had lived, this little hero, On many a bloody plain.
"One day, when shouts were loudest Upon the reddened field,— When came the victor's war-cry, 'See! see! they fly! they yield!'—
"Forth then, to seek his father, He went with eager joy; But with a chance ball wounded, Low lay the fearless boy!
"The son of a brave chieftain, He made no sigh or groan; His father's hand yet tighter He clasped within his own!
"And so, when strife was ended, No more to be begun, In conquest's very moment Thus fell the chieftain's son."
Then John took out his feather, And put his flag away; And Charlie's drum was silent Until another day.
THE CHILD'S QUESTION.
"What are the flowers for, mamma, That spring up fresh and bright, And grow on every hill and plain, Where'er I turn my sight?
"How do the flowers grow, mamma? I've pulled the leaves away, And tried to see them blossom out, On many a summer's day."
"The flowers were made, my little child, That when our footsteps trod Upon the green and pleasant fields, We then might think of God.
"We may not see how they do grow, And bloom in beauty fair; We cannot tell how they can spread Their small leaves to the air:
"But yet we know that God's kind hand Creates these little flowers, And makes the warm sun shine on them, And waters them with showers.
"And so we love to think that He, Who paints their sweet leaves thus, Who sends the sunshine and the rain, Has thought and care for us."
The holy Sabbath day has fled; And has it been well spent? Have I remembered what was said, And why the day was sent?
May I be better all the week, For what to-day has taught; May I God's love and favor seek, And do the things I ought!
HAGAR AND ISHMAEL.
'Twas morning, and the pleasant light Shone on the hills, the trees, the flowers, And made a far-off country bright, A lovely land, but not like ours.
A mother led her little child Forth from his father's door away; And with the flowers he played, and smiled As beautiful and bright as they.
But when, at noon, the warm sun beat Upon the sweet boy's forehead fair, Tired and thirsty from the heat, He asked in vain for water there.
The bottle, filled with water clear At early day, was empty now; The mother laid her child so dear Beneath an old tree's spreading bough.
She turned away, and heard the sound Of water, gushing like the rain; She raised her boy from off the ground, He drank, and played and smiled again.
They travelled on for many a day, The mother and her little child; And found a home, far, far away, At last, among the deserts wild.
The bird within its nest Has sung its evening hymn, And I must go to quiet rest, As the bright west grows dim.
I see the twinkling star, That, when the sun has gone, Is shining out the first afar, To tell us day is done.
If on this day I've been A selfish, naughty child, May God forgive the wrong I've done, And make me kind and mild.
May he still bless and keep My father, mother dear; And may the eye that cannot sleep Watch o'er our pillows here,
And guard us from all ill, Through this long, silent night, And bring us, by His holy will, To see the morning light.
THE FIRST VIOLET.
Spring has come, dear mother! I've a violet found, Growing in its beauty From the cold, dark ground.
You are sad, dear mother, Tears are in your eye; You're not glad to see it; Mother, tell me why?
I remember.—Last year, Where our Willie lies, Grew the earliest violet, Blue as were his eyes.
Then you told me, mother, That the flowers would fade, And their withered blossoms On the earth be laid.
But you said, as springtime Would their buds restore, Willie would in heaven Be forevermore.
Weep no more, dear mother! Violets are in bloom; And your darling Willie Lives beyond the tomb.
"Little children, when rejoicing In the merry Christmas morn, 'Mid your sports remember ever 'Tis the day that Christ was born.
"When on earth, the blessed Saviour Said, 'Let children come to me,' And the little ones he folded In his arms, how tenderly!"
"But the Saviour is in heaven, And we cannot see him now; We cannot receive his blessing, In his presence cannot bow."
"Listen. In the holy Bible, Jesus Christ tells every child That the way to gain his blessing Is by being good and mild."
"Here on earth you may not see him; But when this short life is done, You shall live with him forever Where there is no setting sun."
"So remember, Christmas morning, That on earth the Saviour came; And that still he guards and blesses Every child who loves his name."
If I resolve, with the new year, A better child to be, 'Twill do no good at all, I fear, But rather harm to me,
Unless I try, with every day, No angry word to speak; Unless, each morn, to God I pray To keep me mild and meek.
Then let me try with all my might, And may God help me too, Always to choose the way that's right, Whatever act I do.
God has kept me, dearest mother. Kindly, safely, through the day: Let me thank Him for His goodness, Ere the twilight fades away.
For my home and friends I thank Him, For my father, mother dear; For the hills, the trees, the flowers, And the sky so bright and clear.
If I have been kind and gentle, If I've spoken what was true, Or if I've been cross and selfish, He has seen and known it, too.
Those I love He will watch over, Though they may be far away, For he loves good little children, And will hear the words they say.
"O George! how large your bubble is! Its colors, too, how bright! Just like the rainbow that we saw On high, the other night.
"Now throw it off, and let it float Like fairies in the air! It's broken, Georgie; never mind, But blow another there."
Their mother, just within the door, Smiled at their childish play,— A smile, but yet a thoughtful one, That seemed these words to say:
"My little Georgie, bubbles burst, And are but empty air; I would that you might love the things That last forever fair.
"And ever may my darling Kate A trusting spirit bear, And, when one cherished hope has fled, Yet find another there."
I am coming, I am coming, With my carpet soft and green; I have spread it o'er the common, And a prettier ne'er was seen.
Soon I'll spangle it with clover, And the dandelions bright; You shall pick them in your aprons, Yellow, red, and snowy white.
I am coming, and the tree-tops, That all winter were so bare, You shall see, with small leaves covered, Wave their branches in the air.
I am coming! Little children, Can you tell me who am I? If not, you will soon remember, For I'm just now passing by.
Tis Summer, I know by the blue of the sky; By the trees' deeper green, as beneath them I lie; And more than all these, by the lovely wild rose That now in the woodland its pink blossom shows.
Now ring the sharp scythes of the mowers all day, And they spread to the air the sweet-scented hay; They pile up the wagon ere daylight is done, And singing come home with the set of the sun.
I feel the warm west wind fan gently my cheek As I sit on the grass, far too happy to speak; And then in the twilight I see the faint spark Of the fire-fly, flitting alone in the dark.
Oh! long happy days, when 'tis full of delight To roam in the meadows from morning till night! Oh! summer, sweet summer! glide slowly away, For I love in your warmth and your fragrance to stay.
Here's the purple aster, And the golden-rod, And the blue fringed gentian, By the meadow sod.
And the scarlet cardinal Grows beside the brook, And the yellow sunflower In some sheltered nook.
Maple boughs are covered With their foliage red, And the withered elm leaves On the ground lie dead.
And within the orchard, Heavy-laden trees Shower down the apples, With each passing breeze.
So by these we know thee, Lovely autumn time, With thy deep blue heavens, And thy snowy rime.
And we gladly greet thee, With thy colors gay, Though thou tell'st us summer Hence hath fled away.
With my breath so keen and chilling, I have stripped the branches bare; And my snow-flakes white are filling, Feather-like, the frosty air.
Coming o'er the lofty mountains, There I left a robe of white; I have locked the sparkling fountains, I have chained the river bright.
O'er the quiet valley winging, There I left my traces, too; Hark! the merry sleigh-bells ringing, With their music call on you.
I have come! The school-boy shouting, Joyfully brings out his sled; He has seen me, nothing doubting, As across the fields he sped.
I have come; but shall I find you Better than the former year? If you've cast your faults behind you, I shall gladly greet you here.
"GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD."
Give us this day our daily bread; Oh! children, when you pray, And morn and night repeat these words, Think what it is you say.
You never asked a piece of bread, And had that wish denied; For food to eat, and some to spare, Has always been supplied.
But o'er the ocean, many a cheek With want grows thin and pale; And many suffer like the boy Of whom I tell this tale.
He lay upon some scattered straw,— His strength was almost gone,— And, in a feeble voice, he cried, "Give me three grains of corn!"
Three grains from out his jacket torn, His trembling mother drew, 'Twas all she had—she gave them him, Though she was starving too!
Be very grateful, children, then, For all that you enjoy; Remembering, as you say those words, The little Irish boy.
WILLIE IN HEAVEN:
"They tell me in a sunny land Our Willie is at play; And with him is a happy band Of children, good and gay.
"They say their shining robes of white Are free from spot or stain; That there, where it is never night, They feel no grief or pain.
"But Willie shunned the stranger's face, When he was with us here; And in that new, though lovely place, He will be sad, I fear.
"He'll miss me,—though the fields are fair, His bright eyes will grow dim; He has no little sister there; O let me go to him!"
"Our Willie is not sad, my child; For in that heavenly home There dwells the blessed Saviour mild, Who bids the children come.
"He loves them with a purer love, A holier, than ours; And leads them in the fields above, Where spring undying flowers.
"If no ungentle words you speak, No wicked actions do, And if, with every day, you seek To be more kind and true,
"Then, by our darling Willie's side, And joined in heart and hand, Forevermore shall you abide, Among the angel band."
"Where are the angels, mother? Though you have often said They watched at night around me, And safely kept my bed;
"Though every night I listen Their voices low to hear, Yet I have never heard them,— Where are they, mother dear?
"And when the silver moonshine Fills all my room with light, And when the stars are shining, So countless and so bright.
"I hope to see them coming, With their fair forms, to me; Yet I have never seen them,— Mother, where can they be?
"I saw a cloud, this evening, Red with the setting sun; It was so very lovely, I thought it might be one.
"But when it faded slowly, I knew it could not be, For they are always shining; Why come they not to me?"
"My child, when through your window Shines down the moonlight clear,— When all is still and silent, And no kind friend is near,—
"Are you not glad and happy, And full of thoughts of love? Do you not think of heaven. That brighter land above?
"These thoughts the angels bring you; And though the gentle tone Of their sweet voices comes not When you are all alone;
"Yet they are always leaving, For earth, their homes on high; And though you cannot see them, You feel that they are nigh."
THE CHILDHOOD OF JESUS.
Of the childhood of our Saviour Tells one simple verse alone; Yet from that his whole behavior When he was a child, is known.
He was subject to his mother, So the holy Scriptures say; 'Tis enough, we need no other Record of him day by day.
Thus we, his obedience knowing, Know how gentle and how mild,— How in truth and goodness growing Was our Saviour from a child.
Little children, who endeavor Like the blessed One to be, As you try, remember ever How obedient was he.
If, like Jesus pure and holy, You your parents' will obey, You will grow more meek and lowly, And more like him, every day.
Silence! stir not! for a whisper Would affright thy pretty prey; Not a motion, little lisper, Else the fish will glide away.
Hush! he's coming! he is swimming Slowly round and round the bait; Steady! though thine eye is brimming Full of mirth that will not wait.
And thy brother near thee kneeling Fears to hear thy ringing shout; Gently! near and nearer stealing Comes the brightly spotted trout.
There! thy hook has caught him surely; Firmly hold thy slender rod; Pull away! and then securely Place him on the grassy sod.
'Neath the green boughs rustling o'er you, Fish away the livelong day; And with evening's star before you, Wander home at twilight gray.
"What is the rainbow, mother dear, With many-colored light? Have the clouds parted just to show The floor of heaven so bright?
"Or is it wings of angels pure That touch along the sky? And do they come that we may see How fair is all on high?
"Or, mother, on that shining arch Do spirits rise above? And on that bended bow ascend Where all is light and love?
"How beautiful must be that road! Why should we call those back, Who travel to the better land On such a sunny track?
"Why did you weep when brother died? Did you not know that he On that delightful path must tread, Ere he in heaven could be?"
"My dearest child, we cannot know, Or trace the spirit's flight, For sin and sorrow draw their veil Across our mortal sight.
"If—as the rainbow takes its hues Of beauty from the sun— We strive to live like Christ our Lord, The meek and holy One,—
"Then shall we dwell in Heaven's clear day, Which knows nor night nor moon, For, ever, from the Father's throne Beams high and cloudless noon."
A SONG FOR MAY MORNING.
Awake! awake! the dusky night Is fading from the sky; Awake! and with the early light To pleasant fields we'll hie. Come with me, and I will show Where the fragrant wild-flowers grow; We will weave a garland gay For our smiling Queen of May.
The sun peeps up behind the hills, And hark! the morning song Of little birds the fresh air fills, As now we skip along. By the brook-side cold and wet, Blooms the pale, white violet; There's the purple blossom, too, Nodding with its weight of dew.
The gentle wind just lifts the head Of many a columbine; And, taken from their rocky bed, They in our wreaths shall twine. Saxifrage, so small and sweet, Grows in plenty at our feet; From the grass we gather up, Golden bright, the buttercup.
Now for the trailing evergreen, That in the woodland springs, And we will crown our May-day queen With buds this fair month brings. Merriest of all the year Is the day we welcome here; We will sing and dance away, In our glee, this long May-day.
THE CHILD AND THE FLOWER-ELF.
"I was walking, dearest mother, This morning, by the brook, And tired at last I rested me Within a shady nook.
"There all was still and lonely, And suddenly I heard A little voice,—a sweeter one Than note of any bird.
"I looked above, around me, I saw not whence it came; And yet that tone of music Was calling me by name.
"The violet beside me Bloomed with its purple cup, And a tiny face, so lovely, Amidst its leaves peeped up.
"Again the silver music,— The voice I loved to hear,— Upon its sweet breath floated, And bade me not to fear.
"'I am the elf,' it whispered, 'Who in the violet dwells, And every blossom hides one Within its fragrant cells.
"'If you will list our teaching, And catch our faintest tone, Your heart will be as spotless, As loving as our own.'
"And then, as I was gazing, It vanished from my sight; Once more the violet nodded, And sought the sunshine bright."
"My darling child, the elfins That live within the flowers Sweet sounds are ever breathing, To glad this world of ours.
"Well may we weep and sorrow, If they are silent all; Then are our souls too sinful To heed their spirit call.
"The pure in heart alone can hear Those precious words and low; And by their lessons purer yet Throughout their lives shall grow."
THE FOUR GIFTS.
A new-born babe was sleeping Within its cradle fair, And angel guards were keeping Its peaceful slumbers there.
Gone was the age of fairies, And of the elfins wild, Who, hovering o'er the infant's couch, Were wont to bless the child.
But in a distant city, Fays that still glad the earth, Four gentle little children, Hailed with delight his birth.
Out spake the eldest sister, "O, let us fairies play, And give to our young brother Some precious gift to-day.
"Sit down around the fireside, And I my gift will tell." And the little children sat them down The fancy pleased them well.
Again thus spake the eldest, "I 'll give him beauty rare; His eyes shall be as diamonds bright, His brow like marble fair.
"He shall have golden ringlets, His cheeks shall mock the rose; And he shall be the loveliest Where'er his light form goes."
The next replied, "Oh! sister, Not such a gift is mine; For beauty's charms, though lovely, Must perish and decline.
"I'll give him wit and talents; In manhood he shall stand Among the gifted and the wise, That bless our native land."
"I'll give him sweet good-temper," Said the third loving child; "He shall make glad our happy home By actions kind and mild."
The youngest raised her wondering eyes, And said, in accents low, "I thought the gift I chose would be The first that you 'd bestow.
"I'll give our little brother Obedience to-day, And he shall mind, with cheerfulness, All that our parents say."
Oh! blessed is the childish heart, In life's first opening dawn, For all its high and holy thoughts From heavenly founts are drawn.
May our most valued blessings be Obedience and love! Our hearts, like that sweet sister's, full Of teachings from above!
THE TWO LULLABIES.
"Once songs as lullabies to thee I sung, To sleep hath sung thee now an angel's tongue."
From the German of Ruckert.
A lovely babe was lying Upon its mother's breast; And she, with soft, low music. Was hushing it to rest.
The song was sweet and gentle, And loving in its tone; And in its touching tenderness A mother's love was shown.
And still it floated onward, With melody so deep, Till closed the dark-fringed eyelids, The baby was asleep.
And still beside his cradle She sang the same low hymn, Till he smiled, as he was sleeping, At angel fancies dim.
Years passed.—The helpless infant Was now a happy boy; And often rang his laughter, In notes of heartfelt joy.
Upon his mother's bosom I saw the child again; And his little head was drooping In weakness and in pain.
Back from his marble forehead The hair streamed, golden bright; But yet his dark eye sparkled With more than mortal light.
And suddenly he whispered, "What music sweet I hear! 'Tis not the song you used to sing At night, O mother dear!
"But sweeter far, and softer, Than notes you ever sung; It is as if a silver bell Its pleasant chimings rung.
"It tells of rest, dear mother, Of slumber calm and deep; And I am worn and weary, And fain 'would sink to sleep.
"Darkness is closing round me— You're fading from my sight— I hear it still!—dear mother, Kiss me once more—good-night!"
He slept; but angel voices Had sung his lullaby; And sweet shall be his waking In our Father's home on high!