Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
The Mother to Her Child
By Sarah J. Hale (1788–1879)
ONE kiss, my boy upon thy cheek,
  That cheek so young and bright,
And once again I ’d hear thee speak
  Thy softly lisp’d “good night.”
Then rest, and not a shade of earth        5
  Can cloud thy slumbers fair;
Dark dreams from worldly cares have birth,
  And thou hast nought of care.
O why might not life’s silver tide
With thee thus ever smoothly glide!        10
Who gazes on the bloom of May,
  Nor sighs that all will wither?
And yet the blossoms must decay
  Ere we the fruit may gather;
And life’s sweet morning buds of joy        15
  Like spring-flowers soon depart;
And thou must change, yet wear, my boy,
  Life’s freshness in thy heart.
Pure feelings, like the flower’s perfume,
Embalm the memory of its bloom.        20
Man’s lot, dominion o’er the earth,
  Maketh his sinews strong,
And that proud lot will lead thee forth
  All ardent ’mid the throng.
Life’s onward path is wrapp’d in night,        25
  And dangers are its fame;
Ambition holds an eagle flight,
  And spurns at quiet’s name,
And pleasure’s siren songs entice,
And flowers conceal the precipice.        30
O! wilt thou wander then, my boy?—
  Away! ye idle fears,—
Why shroud our sun of present joy
  In clouds of future years?
There ’s One will watch thee though I sleep        35
  Where morning never shone;
There ’s One thy faltering steps can keep,
  Wouldst thou His voice were known?
Then list amid the world’s wide din
The still, small voice thy heart within.        40

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