“’And you have made a poem,
All of your own invention:
Will not your father love you dearly,
When this to him I mention?
“’Your sister Mary, she can
Your poetry by heart;
And to repeat your verses may
Be little Mary’s part,
“’Susan, for you, I’ll
say you do
Your needlework with care,
And stitch so true the wristbands new,
Dear father’s soon to wear!’
“‘O hark!’ said James;
’I hear one speak;
’Tis like a seaman’s voice.’—
Our mother gave a joyful shriek;
How did we all rejoice!
“‘My husband’s come!’
’My father’s here!
But O, alas, it was not so;
It was not as we said:
A stranger seaman did appear,
On his rough cheek there stood a tear,
For he brought to us a tale of woe,
Our father dear was dead.”
Horatio, of ideal courage vain,
Was flourishing in air his father’s cane,
And, as the fumes of valour swell’d his pate,
Now thought himself this Hero, and now that:
“And now,” he cried, “I will Achilles be;
My sword I brandish; see, the Trojans flee.
Now I’ll be Hector, when his angry blade
A lane through heaps of slaughter’d Grecians made!
And now by deeds still braver I’ll evince,
I am no less than Edward the Black Prince.—
Give way, ye coward French:—” as thus he spoke,
And aim’d in fancy a sufficient stroke
To fix the fate of Cressy or Poictiers;
(The Muse relates the Hero’s fate with tears)
He struck his milk-white hand against a nail,
Sees his own blood, and feels his courage fail.
Ah! where is now that boasted valour flown,
That in the tented field so late was shown!
Achilles weeps, Great Hector hangs the head,
And the Black Prince goes whimpering to bed.
An infant is a selfish sprite;
But what of that? the sweet delight
Which from participation springs,
Is quite unknown to these young things.
We elder children then will smile
At our dear little John awhile,
And bear with him, until he see
There is a sweet felicity
In pleasing more than only one
Dear little craving selfish John.
He laughs, and thinks it a
That he our new wax doll has broke.
Anger will never teach him better;
We will the spirit and the letter
Of courtesy to him display,
By taking in a friendly way
These baby frolics, till he learn
True sport from mischief to discern.