The New Penelope/Childhood

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For other versions of this work, see Childhood (Victor).


A child of scarcely seven years,
Light haired, and fair as any lily;
With pure eyes ready in their tears
At chiding words, or glances chilly;
And sudden smiles, as inly bright
As lamps through alabaster shining,
With ready mirth, and fancies light,
Dashed with strange dreams of child-divining:
A child in all infantile grace,
Yet with the angel lingering in her face.

A curious, eager, questioning child,
Whose logic leads to naive conclusions;
Her little knowledge reconciled
To truth amid some odd confusions;
Yet credulous, and loving much
The problems hardest for her reason,
Placing her lovely faith on such,
And deeming disbelief a treason;
Doubting that which she can disprove,
And wisely trusting all the rest to love.

Such graces dwell beside your hearth,
And bless you in a priceless pleasure,
Leaving no sweeter spot on earth
Than that which holds your household treasure.
No entertainment ever yet
Had half the exquisite completeness—
The gladness without one regret,
You gather from your darling's sweetness:
An angel sits beside the hearth
Where e're an innocent child is found on earth.