How I have doted on thine infant smiles
At morning when thine eyes unclosed on mine;
How, as the months in swift succession roll'd,
I mark'd thy human faculties unfold,
And watch'd the dawning of the light divine;
And with what artifice of playful guiles
Won from thy lips with still-repeated wiles
Kiss after kiss, a reckoning often told,—
Something I ween thou know'st; for thou hast seen
Thy sisters in their turn such fondness prove,
And felt how childhood in its winning years
The attempered soul to tenderness can move.
This thou canst tell ; but not the hopes and fears
With which a parent's heart doth overflow,—
The thoughts and cares inwoven with that love,—
Its nature and its depth, thou dost not, canst not know.