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And hopelessly and aimlessly

The scared old leaves were flying; When, mingled with the sighing wind,

I heard a small voice crying.

And shivering on the corner stood

A child of four, or over;
No cloak or hat her small, soft arms,

And wind blown curls to cover.
Her dimpled face was stained with tears;

Her round blue eyes ran over;
She cherished in her wee, cold hand,

A bunch of faded clover.

And one hand round her treasure while

She slipped in mine the other : Half scared, half confidential, said,

“Oh! please, I want my mother!" “Tell me your street and number, pet:

Do n't cry, I 'll take you to it.” Sobbing she answered, “I forget:

The organ made me do it.

“He came and played at Milly's steps,

The monkey took the money ;
And so I followed down the street,

The monkey was so funny.
I've walked about a hundred hours,

From one street to another:
The monkey 's gone, I 've spoiled my flowers,

Oh! please, I want my mother."

“But what 's your mother's name? and what

The street ? Now think a minute." “My mother's name is mamma dear

The street-I can't begin it.” “But what is strange about the house,

Or new-not like the others ?"

“I guess you mean my trundle-bed,

Mine and my little brother's.

"Oh dear! I ought to be at home To help him say


prayers, – He's such a baby he forgets;

And we are both such players;And there 's a bar to keep us both

From pitching on each other, For Harry rolls when he 's asleep:

Oh dear! I want my mother."

The sky grew stormy; people passed

All muffled, homeward faring:
You 'll have to spend the night with me,"

I said at last, despairing.
I tied a kerchief round her neck-

“What ribbon 's this, my blossom ? "
“Why do n't you know?” she smiling, said,

And drew it from her bosom.


A card with number, street, and name;

My eyes astonished met it; “For," said the little one, “you see

I might sometimes forget it:
And so I wear a little thing

That tells you all about it;
For mother says she 's very sure
I should get lost without it.”


Tired Mothers.

A LITTLE elbow leans upon your knee,

Your tired knee that has so much to bear; A child's dear eyes are looking lovingly

From underneath a thatch of tangled hair.

Perhaps you do not heed the velvet touch

Of warm, moist fingers, folding yours so tight; You do not prize this blessing overmuch,

You almost are too tired to pray to-night.

But it is blessedness! A year ago

I did not see it as I do to-day-
We are so dull and thankless; and too slow

To catch the sunshine till it slips away.
And now it seems surpassing strange to me,

That, while I wore the badge of motherhood, I did not kiss more oft and tenderly

The little child that brought me only good.

And if, some night when you sit down to rest,

You miss this elbow from your tired knee, This restless curling head from off your breast,

This lisping tongue that chatters constantly; If from your own the dimpled hands had slipped,

And ne'er would nestle in your palm again; If the white feet into their grave had tripped,

I could not blame you for your heartache then.

I wonder so that mothers ever fret

At little children clinging to their gown; Or that the footprints, when the days are wet,

Are ever black enough to make them frown. If I could find a little muddy boot,

Or cap, or jacket, on my chamber-floor, If I could kiss a rosy, restless foot,

And hear it patter in my house once more,

If I could mend a broken cart to-day,

To-morrow make a kite to reach the sky, There is no woman in God's world could say

She was more blissfully content than I. But ahl the dainty pillow next my own

Is never rumpled by a shining head;

My singing birdling from its nest is flown,-
The little boy I used to kiss is dead !


The Children.
When the lessons and tasks are all ended,

And the school for the day is dismissed,
The little ones gather around me

To bid me good-night and be kissed:
Oh, the little white arms that encircle

My neck in their tender embrace!
Oh, the smiles that are halos of heaven,

Shedding sunshine of love on my face!
And when they are gone I sit dreaming

Of my childhood too lovely to last; Of joy that my heart will remember,

While it wakes to the pulse of the past,
Ere the world and its wickedness made me

A partner of sorrow and sin,
When the glory of God was about me,

And the glory of gladness within.

All my heart grows as weak as a woman's,

And the fountains of feeling will flow, When I think of the paths, steep and stony,

Where the feet of the dear ones must go; Of the mountains of Sin hanging o'er them,

Of the tempest of Fate blowing wild; Oh! there 's nothing on earth half so holy

As the innocent heart of a child!

They are idols of hearts and of households;

They are angels of God in disguise;
His sunlight still sleeps in their tresses,

His glory still gleams in their eyes,
Those truants from home and from heaven,

They have made me more manly and mild !

And I know, now, how Jesus could liken

The kingdom of God to a child.

I ask not a life for the dear ones,

All radiant, as others have done,
But that life may have just enough shadow

To temper the glare of the sun;
I would pray God to guard them from evil,

But my prayer would bound back to myself ;
Ahl a seraph may pray for a sinner,

But a sinner must pray for himself.

The twig is so easily bended,

I have banished the rule and the rod;
I have taught them the goodness of knowledge,

They have taught me the goodness of God;
My heart is the dungeon of darkness,

Where I shut them for breaking a rule; My frown is sufficient correction;

My love is the law of the school

I shall leave the old house in the autumn,

To traverse its threshold no more;
Ahl how I shall sigh for the dear ones,

That meet me each morn at the door;
I shall miss the “good nights” and the kisses,

And the gush of their innocent glee,
The group on the green, and the flowers

That are brought every morning for me. I shall miss them at morn and at even,

Their song in the school and the street; I shall miss the low hum of their voices,

And the tread of their delicate feet.
When the lessons of life are all ended,

And death says “the school is dismissed,"
May the little ones gather around me,
To bid me good-night and be kissed!


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