LIKE the cadence of an old love song,
Borne on a zephyr's wings along,
Then sounding again,
Touching the heart with its mournful strain,
Tearing my soul from its worldly strife,
Came a dream or vision of life, child-life.
Methought the heart of a child stood bare,
And I saw all human passions there,
Like waters grand,
Hurled by the maelstrom's mighty hand,
While the billows dashed with a sullen sound,
And scattered the foaming spray around.
'Twas a tiny seed in its embryo state,
Yet I saw there the germs of love and hate--
Together they stood,
Strange that the evil should rest by the good!
Oh! would that to mortals was granted the meed
To cherish the flower, but pluck out the weed!
Faith, Hope and Charity, all were there,
Ambition, revenge, dark revenge, and despair,
I touched a small sore,
And the heart of the child was enveloped in gore.
'Twas a slight disappointment that brought forth
For a sire's broken promise disturbed the deep
Ah! I covered my eyes to shut out the sad sight,
For the face of the child was as dark as the night
That knowledge to find
A rest for the weary, a balm for the mind.
With Faith I looked up, and the child's face was
Hope's flower had blossomed through blood and by.
And as the dream-vision was passing away,
Through the deep silence reigning I heard a voice say,
Thou, a mother of youth,
Oh! doubt not this vision, thou knowest its truth!
Thou knowest that virtues and passions are rife
In the beautiful morning of life, child-life.
Beware how thou touchest its heart cords wrong,
For the virtues are weak and the vices are strong,
Wake the sweet strain,
Touch pleasure and peace, and no discord will reign.
Thou hast seen, oh my daughter, that each child
Doth emulate manhood, yes, e'en at its birth.
Then deal with it lovingly, let the dream last,
When comes a deep sorrow, the child-life is past.
Like light falling rain,
Then dying away as Eolian strain,
The dream-vision vanished, I heard still the voice,
Group no longer in darkness, in thy knowledge
I woke, and the sun newly born, grand and bright,
Had flooded my room, and my soul with its light.