Ah! grown a dim and fairy shade,
Dear child, who, fifteen years ago,
Out of our arms escaped and fled
With swift white feet, as if afraid,
To hide beneath the grass, the snow,
that sunny little head.
This is your birthday! Fair, so fair,
And grown to gracious maiden-height,
And versed in heavenly lore and ways;
White-vested as the angels are,
In very light of very light,
Somehow, somewhere, you keep the day
With those new friends, whom "new" we call,
But who are dearer now than we,
And better known by fate and name:
And do they smile and say, "How tall
The child becomes, how radiant, she
Who was so little when she came!"
Darling, we count your eighteen years,--
Fifteen in Heaven, on earth but three,--
And try to frame you grown and wise:
But all in vain; there still appears
Only the child you used to be,
Our baby with the violet eyes.