To An Infant Daughter.

A poem by John Clare

Sweet gem of infant fairy-flowers!
Thy smiles on life' unclosing hours,
Like sunbeams lost in summer showers,
They wake my fears;
When reason knows its sweets and sours,
They'll change to tears.

God help thee, little senseless thing!
Thou, daisy-like of early spring,
Of ambush'd winter's hornet sting
Hast yet to tell;
Thou know'st not what to-morrows bring:
I wish thee well.

But thou art come, and soon or late
'Tis thine to meet the frowns of fate,
The harpy grin of envy's hate,
And mermaid-smiles
Of worldly folly's luring bait,
That youth beguiles.

And much I wish, whate'er may be
The lot, my child, that falls to thee,
Nature may never let thee see
Her glass betimes,
But keep thee from my failings free,--
Nor itch at rhymes.

Lord knows my heart, it loves thee much;
And may my feelings, aches, and such,
The pains I meet in folly's clutch
Be never thine:
Child, it's a tender string to touch,
That sounds "thou'rt mine."

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