CHILD’S MUSIC LESSON
ye in your innocent toil at all?
Sweet little hands, why halt
and tremble so?
Full many a wrong note falls, but let it fall!
Each note to me is like a golden
Each broken cadence like a mourning call;
Nay, clear and smooth I would
not have you go,
Soft little hands, upon the curtained threshold set
Of this long life of labour, and unrestful fret.
flickers on the checkered green:
Warm winds are stirring round
my dreaming seat:
Among the yellow pumpkin blooms, that lean
Their crumpled rims beneath
the heavy heat,
The stripèd bees in lazy labour glean
From bell to bell with golden-feathered
Yet even here the voices of hard life go by;
Outside, the city strains with its eternal cry.
I sit—the sunlight on my face,
And shadows of green leaves
upon mine eyes—
My heart, a garden in a hidden place,
Is full of folded buds of memories.
Stray hither then with all your old time grace,
Child-voices, trembling from
the uncertain keys;
Play on, ye little fingers, touch the settled gloom,
And quickly, one by one, my waiting buds will bloom.
Ah me, I
may not set my feet again
In any part of that old garden
Or pluck one widening blossom, for my pain;
But only at the wicket gaze
Old scents creep into mine inactive brain,
Smooth scents of things, I may
not come anear;
I see, far off, old beaten pathways they adorn;
I cannot feel with hands the blossom of the thorn.
sweet hands; once more I see the child;
The little child, that was myself,
And all the old time beauties, undefiled,
Shine back to me across the
Quick griefs, that made the tender bosom wild,
Short blinding gusts, that died
in passionate tears,
Sweet life, with all its change, that now so happy seems,
With all its child-heart glories, and untutored dreams.
Play on into
the golden sunshine so,
Sweeter than all great artists’
I too was like you once, an age ago:
God keep you, dimpled fingers,
for you bring
Quiet gliding ghosts to me of joy and woe,
No certain things at all that
thrill or sting,
But only sounds and scents and savours of things bright,
No joy or aching pain; but only dim delight.