Verse > Anthologies > J. C. Squire, ed. > A Book of Women’s Verse
J. C. Squire, ed.  A Book of Women’s Verse.  1921.
On Seeing Her Two Sons at Play
By Henrietta, Lady O’Neill (1758–1793)
SWEET age of blest delusion! blooming boys,
Ah! revel long in childhood’s thoughtless joys,
With light and pliant spirits, that can stoop
To follow sportively the rolling hoop;
To watch the sleeping top with gay delight,        5
Or mark with raptur’d gaze the sailing kite;
Or eagerly pursuing Pleasure’s call,
Can find it centr’d in the bounding ball!
Alas! the day will come, when sports like these
Must lose their magic, and their power to please;        10
Too swiftly fled, the rosy hours of youth
Shall yield their fairy-charms to mournful Truth;
Even now, a mother’s fond prophetic fear
Sees the dark train of human ills appear;
Views various fortune for each lovely child,        15
Storms for the bold, and anguish for the mild;
Beholds already those expressive eyes
Beam a sad certainty of future sighs;
And dreads each suffering those dear breasts may know
In their long passage through a world of woe;        20
Perchance predestin’d every pang to prove,
That treacherous friends inflict, or faithless love;
For ah! how few have found existence sweet,
Where grief is sure, but happiness deceit!

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