Poet Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton



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To Ferdinand Seymour

ROSY child, with forehead fair,
Coral lip, and shining hair,
In whose mirthful, clever eyes
Such a world of gladness lies;
As thy loose curls idly straying
O'er thy mother's cheek, while playing,
Blend her soft lock's shadowy twine
With the glittering light of thine,--
Who shall say, who gazes now,
Which is fairest, she or thou?

In sweet contrast are ye met,
Such as heart could ne'er forget:
Thou art brilliant as a flower,
Crimsoning in the sunny hour;
Merry as a singing-bird,
In the green wood sweetly heard;

Restless as if fluttering wings
Bore thee on thy wanderings;
Ignorant of all distress,
Full of childhood's carelessness.

She is gentle; she hath known
Something of the echoed tone
Sorrow leaves, where'er it goes,
In this world of many woes.
On her brow such shadows are
As the faint cloud gives the star,
Veiling its most holy light,
Tho' it still be pure and bright;
And the colour in her cheek
To the hue on thine is weak,
Save when flush'd with sweet surprise,
Sudden welcomes light her eyes;
And her softly chisel'd face
(But for living, moving grace)
Looks like one of those which beam
In th' Italian painter's dream,--
Some beloved Madonna, bending
O'er the infant she is tending;

Holy, bright, and undefiled
Mother of the Heaven-born child;
Who, tho' painted strangely fair,
Seems but made for holy prayer,
Pity, tears, and sweet appeal,
And fondness such as angels feel;
Baffling earthly passion's sigh
With serenest majesty!

Oh! may those enshrouded years
Whose fair dawn alone appears,--
May that brightly budding life,
Knowing yet not sin nor strife,--
Bring its store of hoped-for joy,
Mother, to thy laughing boy!
And the good thou dost impart
Lies deep-treasured in his heart,
That, when he at length shall strive
In the bad world where we live,
THY sweet name may still be blest
As one who taught his soul true rest!



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