Your repentance, my children, I see is unfeign’d,
You are now my good Robert, and now my good Jane;
And if you never will be naughty again,
Your fond mother will never look grave.
In your garb and outward clothing
A reserved plainness use;
By their neatness more distinguish’d
Than the brightness of their hues.
All the colours in the rainbow
Serve to spread the peacock’s train;
Half the lustre of his feathers
Would turn twenty coxcombs vain.
Yet the swan that swims in rivers,
Pleases the judicious sight;
Who, of brighter colours heedless,
Trusts alone to simple white.
Yet all other hues, compared
With his whiteness, show amiss;
And the peacock’s coat of colours
Like a fool’s coat looks by his.
THE NEW-BORN INFANT
Whether beneath sweet beds of roses,
As foolish little Ann supposes,
The spirit of a babe reposes
Before it to the body come;
Or, as philosophy more wise
Thinks, it descendeth from the skies,—
We know the babe’s now in the room.
And that is all which is quite clear,
Ev’n to philosophy, my dear.
The God that made us can alone
Reveal from whence a spirit’s brought
Into young life, to light, and thought;
And this the wisest man must own.
We’ll now talk of the babe’s
When first he opens his new eyes,
And first receives delicious food.
Before the age of six or seven,
To mortal children is not given
Much reason; or I think he would
(And very naturally) wonder
What happy star he was born under,
That he should be the only care
Of the dear sweet-food-giving lady,
Who fondly calls him her own baby,
Her darling hope, her infant heir.
The motes up and down in the sun
Ever restlessly moving we see;
Whereas the great mountains stand still,
Unless terrible earthquakes there be.
If these atoms that move up and down
Were as useful as restless they are,
Than a mountain I rather would be
A mote in the sun-beam so fair.
THE BOY AND SNAKE
Henry was every morning fed
With a full mess of milk and bread.
One day the boy his breakfast took,
And eat it by a purling brook
Which through his mother’s orchard ran.
From that time ever when he can
Escape his mother’s eye, he there
Takes his food in th’ open air.
Finding the child delight to eat
Abroad, and make the grass his seat,
His mother lets him have his way.