I knelt beside a little bed,
The curtains drew away,
And, 'mid the soft, white folds beheld,
Two rosy sleepers lay;
The one had seen three summers smile
And lisped her evening prayer;
The other, - only one year's shade
Was on her flaxen hair.
No sense of duties ill performed
Weighed on each heaving breast,
No weariness of work-day care
Disturbed their tranquil rest;
The stars to them as yet were in
The reach of baby hand,
Temptation, trial, grief, were words
They could not understand.
But in the coming years I saw
The turbulence of life
O'erwhelm this calm of innocence
With melancholy strife;
"From all the foes that lurk without,
From feebleness within,
What Sovereign guard from Heaven," I asked,
"Will strong beseeching win?"
Then to my soul a vision came,
Illuming, cheering all,
Of him who stood with shining front
On Dothan's ancient wall;
And, while his servant's heart grew faint
As he beheld with fear
The Syrian bands encompassing
The city far and near,
With lofty confidence to his
Sad questioning replied,
"Those armies are outnumbered far
By legions at our side:"
Then up from starry sphere to sphere,
Was borne the Prophet's prayer,
"Unfold to his blind sight, O God!
Thy glorious hosts and fair."
The servant's eyes bewildered gazed
On chariots of fire,
On seraphs clad in mails of light,
Resistless in their ire;
On ranks of angels marshalled close,
Where roving comets run,
On silver shields and rainbow wings,
Outspread before the sun.
I saw the Syrian hosts, at noon,
Led sightless through the land,
And longed to grasp the Prophet's robe
Within my feeble hand;
While my whole soul went out in deep
And passionate appeal,
That faith like his might set within
My babes' pure hearts its seal.