I saw a child some four years old,
Along a meadow stray;
Alone she went unchecked untold
Her home not far away.
She gazed around on earth and sky
Now paused, and now proceeded;
Hill, valley, wood, she passed them by,
Unmarked, perchance unheeded.
And now gay groups of roses bright,
In circling thickets bound her
Yet on she went with footsteps light,
Still gazing all around her.
And now she paused, and now she stooped,
And plucked a little flower
A simple daisy 'twas, that drooped
Within a rosy bower.
The child did kiss the little gem,
And to her bosom pressed it;
And there she placed the fragile stem,
And with soft words caressed it.
I love to read a lesson true,
From nature's open book
And oft I learn a lesson new,
From childhood's careless look.
Children are simple loving true;
'Tis Heaven that made them so;
And would you teach them be so too
And stoop to what they know.
Begin with simple lessons things
On which they love to look:
Flowers, pebbles, insects, birds on wings
These are God's spelling-book.
And children know His A, B, C,
As bees where flowers are set:
Would'st thou a skilful teacher be?
Learn, then, this alphabet.
From leaf to leaf, from page to page,
Guide thou thy pupil's look,
And when he says, with aspect sage,
"Who made this wondrous book?"
Point thou with reverent gaze to heaven,
And kneel in earnest prayer,
That lessons thou hast humbly given,
May lead thy pupil there.