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To A Sick Child During The Siege Of Paris
by [?]

(“Si vous continuez toute pale.”)

[November, 1870.]

If you continue thus so wan and white;
If I, one day, behold
You pass from out our dull air to the light,
You, infant–I, so old:
If I the thread of our two lives must see
Thus blent to human view,
I who would fain know death was near to me,
And far away for you;
If your small hands remain such fragile things;
If, in your cradle stirred,
You have the mien of waiting there for wings,
Like to some new-fledged bird;
Not rooted to our earth you seem to be.
If still, beneath the skies,
You turn, O Jeanne, on our mystery
Soft, discontented eyes!
If I behold you, gay and strong no more;
If you mope sadly thus;
If you behind you have not shut the door,
Through which you came to us;
If you no more like some fair dame I see
Laugh, walk, be well and gay;
If like a little soul you seem to me
That fain would fly away–
I’ll deem that to this world, where oft are blent
The pall and swaddling-band,
You came but to depart–an angel sent
To bear me from the land.

Translated by LUCY H. HOOPER.