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A little child !-how long she lived,

By months, not years, is reckoned : Born in one July, she survived

Alone to see a second.

Bright-featured, as the July sun

Her little face still played in,
And splendours, with her birth begun,

Had had no time for fading.

So, Lily, from those July hours,

No wonder we should call her ; She looked such kinship to the flowers,

Was but a little taller.

A Tuscan Lily,-only white,

As Dante, in abhorrence
Of red corruption, wished aright

The lilies of his Florence.

We could not wish her whiter,-her

Who perfumed with pure blossom
The house-a lovely thing to wear

Upon a mother's bosom!
This July creature thought perhaps

Our speech not worth assuming ;
She sat upon her parents' laps

And mimicked the gnat’s humming ; Said “father," “mother”—then left off,

For tongues celestial, fitter;
Her hair had grown just long enough

To catch Heaven's jasper-glitter. Babes ! Love could always hear and see

Behind the cloud that hid them. “ Let little children come to Me,

And do not thou forbid them."

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So, unforbidding, have we met,

And gently here have laid her, Though winter is no time to get

The flowers that should o'erspread her : We should bring pansies quick with spring,

Rose, violet, daffodilly, And also, above everything,

White lilies for our Lily.
Nay, more than flowers, this grave exacts, --

Glad, grateful attestations
Of her sweet eyes and pretty acts,

With calm renunciations.

Her very mother with light feet

Should leave the place too earthy, Saying, “The angels have thee, Sweet,

Because we are not worthy.”

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But winter kills the orange-buds,

The gardens in the frost are,
And all the heart dissolves in floods,

Remembering we have lost her.

Poor earth, poor heart,—too weak, too weak

To miss the July shining !
Poor heart !—what bitter words we speak

When God speaks of resigning !
Sustain this heart in us that faints,

Thou God, the self-existent !
We catch up wild at parting saints,

And feel Thy heaven too distant.
The wind that swept them out of sin,

Has ruffled all our vesture :
On the shut door that let them in,

We beat with frantic gesture,

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“To us, us also, open straight !

The outer life is chilly ;
Are we too, like the earth, to wait

Till next year for our Lily ?”
-Oh, my own baby on my knees,

My leaping, dimpled treasure, At every word I write like these,

Clasped close with stronger pressure : Too well my own heart understands,

At every word beats fullerMy little feet, my little hands,

And hair of Lily's colour ! But God gives patience, Love learns strength,

And Faith remembers promise, And Hope itself can smile at length

On other hopes gone from us. Love, strong as Death, shall conquer Death,

Through struggle, made more glorious :
This mother stills her sobbing breath,

Renouncing yet victorious.
Arms, empty of her child, she lifts

With spirit unbereaven,-
“God will not all take back His gifts ;

My Lily's mine in Heaven.
“ Still mine! maternal rights serene

Not given to another !
The crystal bars shine faint between

The souls of child and mother.

“ Meanwhile," the mother cries, "content !

Our love was well divided :
Its sweetness following where she went,

Its anguish stayed where I did.

“Well done of God, to halve the lot,

And give her all the sweetness; To us, the empty room and cot,

To her, the Heaven's completeness. To us, this grave,—to her, the rows

The mystic palm-trees spring in; To us, the silence in the house,

To her, the choral singing.

“ For her, to gladden in God's view,

For us, to hope and bear on. Grow, Lily, in thy garden new,

Beside the Rose of Sharon !

“ Grow fast in Heaven, sweet Lily clipped,

In love more calm than this is, And may the angels dewy-lipped

Remind thee of our kisses !

“ While none shall tell thee of our tears,

These human tears now falling, Till, after a few patient years,

One home shall take us all in

“Child, father, mother—who, left out?

Not mother, and not father! And when, our dying couch about,

The natural mists shall gather,

“ Some smiling angel close shall stand

In old Correggio's fashion, And bear a LILY in his hand,



DEAD! Thirteen a month ago !

Short and narrow her life's walk.
Lover's love she could not know

Even by a dream or talk :
Too young to be glad of youth,

Missing honour, labour, rest,
And the warmth of a babe's mouth

At the blossom of her breast.
Must you pity her for this
And for all the loss it is,
You, her mother, with wet face,
Having had all in your case ?

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Just so young but yesternight,

Now she is as old as death.
Meek, obedient in your sight,

Gentle to a beck or breath
Only on last Monday! Yours,

Answering you like silver bells
Lightly touched! An hour matures :

You can teach her nothing else.
She has seen the mystery hid
Under Egypt's pyramid :
By those eyelids pale and close
Now she knows what Rhamses knows.

Cross her quiet hands, and smooth

Down her patient locks of silk,
Cold and passive as in truth

You your fingers in spilt milk
Drew along a marble floor ;

But her lips you cannot wring
Into saying a word more,

“Yes,” or “No," or such a thing :

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