In a stage-coach, where late I chanc’d
A little quiet girl my notice caught;
I saw she look’d at nothing by the way,
Her mind seem’d busy on some childish thought.
I with an old man’s courtesy address’d
The child, and call’d her pretty dark-eyed maid
And bid her turn those pretty eyes and see
The wide extended prospect. “Sir,” she said,
“I cannot see the prospect, I am
Never did tongue of child utter a sound
So mournful, as her words fell on my ear.
Her mother then related how she found
Her child was sightless. On a fine
She saw her lay her needlework aside,
And, as on such occasions mothers will,
For leaving off her work began to chide.
“I’ll do it when ’tis
day-light, if you please;
I cannot work, Mamma, now it is night.”
The sun shone bright upon her when she spoke,
And yet her eyes receiv’d no ray of light.
“I’ll make believe,
and fancy something strange:
I will suppose I have the power to change
And make all things unlike to what they were,
To jump through windows and fly through the air,
And quite confound all places and all times,
Like Harlequins we see in Pantomimes.
These thread-papers my wooden sword must be,
Nothing more like one I at present see.
And now all round this drawing-room I’ll range
And every thing I look at I will change.
Here’s Mopsa, our old cat, shall be a bird;
To a Poll Parrot she is now transferr’d.
Here’s Mamma’s work-bag, now I will engage
To whisk this little bag into a cage;
And now, my pretty Parrot, get you in it,
Another change I’ll shew you in a minute.”
“O fie, you naughty child, what
have you done?
There never was so mischievous a son.
You’ve put the cat among my work, and torn
A fine lac’d cap that I but once have worn.”
WRITTEN IN THE FIRST LEAF OF A CHILD’S MEMORANDUM-BOOK
My neat and pretty book, when I thy small
They seem for any use to be unfit for me.
My writing, all misshaped, uneven as my mind,
Within this narrow space can hardly be confin’d.
Yet I will strive to make my hand less aukward look;
I would not willingly disgrace thee, my neat book!
The finest pens I’ll use, and wond’rous pains I’ll take,
And I these perfect lines my monitors will make.
And every day I will set down in order due,
How that day wasted is; and should there be a few
At the year’s end that shew more goodly to the sight,
If haply here I find some days not wasted quite,
If a small portion of them I have pass’d aright,
Then shall I think the year not wholly was misspent,
And that my Diary has been by some good Angel sent.