The Mother to her Child

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The Mother to her Child
by Nathaniel Parker Willis

They tell me thou art come from a far world,
Babe of my bosom! that these little arms,
Whose restlessness is like the spread of wings,
Move with the memory of flights scarce o'er—
That through these fringed lids we see the soul
Steep'd in the blue of its remember'd home;
And while thou sleep'st come messengers, they say,
Whispering to thee—and 'tis then I see
Upon thy baby lips that smile of heaven!
  And what is thy far errand, my fair child?
Why away, wandering from a home of bliss,
To find thy way through darkness home again?
Were thou an untried dweller in the sky?
Is there, betwixt the cherub that thou wert,
The cherub and the angel thou mayst be,
A life's probation in this sadder world?
Art thou with memory of two things only,
Music and light, left upon earth astray,
And, by the watchers at the gate of heaven,
Look'd for with fear and trembling?
                           God! who gavest
Into my guiding hand this wanderer,
To lead her through a world whose darkling paths
I tread with steps so faltering—leave not me
To bring her to the gates of heaven, alone!
I feel my feebleness. Let these stay on—
The angels who now visit her in dreams!
Bid them be near her pillow till in death
The closed eyes look upon Thy face once more!
And let the light and music, which the world
Borrows of heaven, and which her infant sense
Hails with sweet recognition, be to her
A voice to call her upward, and a lamp
To lead her steps unto Thee!