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Infantile Influence
by [?]


(“Lorsque l’enfant parait.”)

[XIX., May 11, 1830.]

The child comes toddling in, and young and old
With smiling eyes its smiling eyes behold,
And artless, babyish joy;
A playful welcome greets it through the room,
The saddest brow unfolds its wrinkled gloom,
To greet the happy boy.

If June with flowers has spangled all the ground,
Or winter bleak the flickering hearth around
Draws close the circling seat;
The child still sheds a never-failing light;
We call; Mamma with mingled joy and fright
Watches its tottering feet.

Perhaps at eve as round the fire we draw,
We speak of heaven, or poetry, or law,
Or politics, or prayer;
The child comes in, ’tis now all smiles and play,
Farewell to grave discourse and poet’s lay,
Philosophy and care.

When fancy wakes, but sense in heaviest sleep
Lies steeped, and like the sobs of them that weep
The dark stream sinks and swells,
The dawn, like Pharos gleaming o’er the sea,
Bursts forth, and sudden wakes the minstrelsy
Of birds and chiming bells;

Thou art my dawn; my soul is as the field,
Where sweetest flowers their balmy perfumes yield
When breathed upon by thee,
Of forest, where thy voice like zephyr plays,
And morn pours out its flood of golden rays,
When thy sweet smile I see.

Oh, sweetest eyes, like founts of liquid blue;
And little hands that evil never knew,
Pure as the new-formed snow;
Thy feet are still unstained by this world’s mire,
Thy golden locks like aureole of fire
Circle thy cherub brow!

Dove of our ark, thine angel spirit flies
On azure wings forth from thy beaming eyes.
Though weak thine infant feet,
What strange amaze this new and strange world gives
To thy sweet virgin soul, that spotless lives
In virgin body sweet.

Oh, gentle face, radiant with happy smile,
And eager prattling tongue that knows no guile,
Quick changing tears and bliss;
Thy soul expands to catch this new world’s light,
Thy mazed eyes to drink each wondrous sight,
Thy lips to taste the kiss.

Oh, God! bless me and mine, and these I love,
And e’en my foes that still triumphant prove
Victors by force or guile;
A flowerless summer may we never see,
Or nest of bird bereft, or hive of bee,
Or home of infant’s smile.

Translated by HENRY HIGHTON, M.A.