Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
To a Child
By Nathaniel Parker Willis (1806–1867)
I WOULD that thou might always be
As innocent as now,
That time might ever leave as free
Thy yet unwritten brow.
I would life were all poetry        5
To gentle measure set,
That nought but chastened melody
Might stain thine eye of jet,
Nor one discordant note be spoken,
Till God the cunning harp had broken.        10
  I fear thy gentle loveliness,
  Thy witching tone and air,
  Thine eye’s beseeching earnestness
  May be to thee a snare.
  The silver stars may purely shine,        15
  The waters taintless flow;
  But they who kneel at woman’s shrine
  Breathe on it as they bow.

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