The Four Gifts.

A poem by H. P. Nichols

A new-born babe was sleeping
Within its cradle fair,
And angel guards were keeping
Its peaceful slumbers there.

Gone was the age of fairies,
And of the elfins wild,
Who, hovering o'er the infant's couch,
Were wont to bless the child.

But in a distant city,
Fays that still glad the earth,
Four gentle little children,
Hailed with delight his birth.

Out spake the eldest sister,
"O, let us fairies play,
And give to our young brother
Some precious gift to-day.

"Sit down around the fireside,
And I my gift will tell."
And the little children sat them down
The fancy pleased them well.

Again thus spake the eldest,
"I 'll give him _beauty_ rare;
His eyes shall be as diamonds bright,
His brow like marble fair.

"He shall have golden ringlets,
His cheeks shall mock the rose;
And he shall be the loveliest
Where'er his light form goes."

The next replied, "Oh! sister,
Not such a gift is mine;
For beauty's charms, though lovely,
Must perish and decline.

"I'll give him _wit_ and _talents_;
In manhood he shall stand
Among the gifted and the wise,
That bless our native land."

"I'll give him _sweet good-temper_,"
Said the third loving child;
"He shall make glad our happy home
By actions kind and mild."

The youngest raised her wondering eyes,
And said, in accents low,
"I thought the gift I chose would be
The first that you 'd bestow.

"I'll give our little brother
_Obedience_ to-day,
And he shall mind, with cheerfulness,
All that our parents say."

Oh! blessed is the childish heart,
In life's first opening dawn,
For all its high and holy thoughts
From heavenly founts are drawn.

May our most valued blessings be
Obedience and love!
Our hearts, like that sweet sister's, full
Of teachings from above!

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