The Child's First Grief.

A poem by Susanna Moodie

Sorrow has touched thee, my beautiful boy!
And dimmed the bright eyes that were dancing with joy;
Thy ruby lips tremble, thy soft cheek is wet,
The tears on its roses are lingering yet.
On thy quick-heaving heart is thy little hand pressed;
There is care on thy brow--there is grief in thy breast,
And slowly and darkly the shadow steals o'er thee,
For the first time the vision of death is before thee!

Meet emblem of childhood--that innocent dove
Was the sharer alike of thy sports and thy love;
Thy playmate is dead--and that tenantless cage
Has stamped the first grief upon memory's page.
And oh!--thou art weeping--Life's fountain of tears,
Once unchained, will flow on through the desert of years;
No joy will e'er equal thy first dawn of bliss,
No sorrow blot out the remembrance of this!

Though reason may smile at the anguish which now
Convulses thy bosom and darkens thy brow;
The period may come, in thy journey through life,
When sick of its falsehood, corruption, and strife,
Thou vainly shall seek in thy desolate track
To bring those sweet feelings and sympathies back;
And thy spirit will murmur, when vexed and reviled,
Oh would I could weep--as I wept when a child!

But let us not darken the landscape with gloom,
And fling round the cradle the shade of the tomb,
The sorrows of youth are like April's rash showers,
Which though rapidly shed, strew our pathway with flowers:
On the soft downy cheek, while the tear glistens bright,
The young heart is leaping, all wild with delight;
The glance of a sunbeam will banish its pain,
And it joyously breaks into laughter again!

Oh, our early impressions are never forgot--
And the wide earth contains not so lovely a spot
As the fields that encircled the home of our youth,
With all its dear visions of beauty and truth:
No meads are so green, and no flowers are so fair
As the wildings we gathered and garlanded there;
And the dim eye grows bright whilst recounting the joy,
The sorrows, and trials, and sports of the boy!

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