To A Child.

A poem by Henry Austin Dobson

(From The "Garland Of Rachel.")

How shall I sing you, Child, for whom
So many lyres are strung;
Or how the only tone assume
That fits a Maid so young?

What rocks there are on either hand!
Suppose--'tis on the cards--
You should grow up with quite a grand
Platonic hate for bards!

How shall I then be shamed, undone,
For ah! with what a scorn
Your eyes must greet that luckless One
Who rhymed you, newly born,--

Who o'er your "helpless cradle" bent
His idle verse to turn;
And twanged his tiresome instrument
Above your unconcern!

Nay,--let my words be so discreet,
That, keeping Chance in view,
Whatever after fate you meet
A part may still be true.

Let others wish you mere good looks,--
Your sex is always fair;
Or to be writ in Fortune's books,--
She's rich who has to spare:

I wish you but a heart that's kind,
A head that's sound and clear;
(Yet let the heart be not too blind,
The head not too severe!)

A joy of life, a frank delight;
A not-too-large desire;
And--if you fail to find a Knight--
At least ... a trusty Squire.

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