Still Be a Child


Still Be a Child (1840) was retrieved from Poems, by Victor Hugo (1888).
Still Be a Child
Joseph Wright of Derby, Two Girls Dressing Kitten, 1768-70
 In youthful spirits wild,
       Smile, for all beams on thee;
     Sport, sing, be still the child,
       The flower, the honey-bee.

     Bring not the future near,
       For Joy too soon declines—
     What is man's mission here?
       Toil, where no sunlight shines!

     Our lot is hard, we know;
       From eyes so gayly beaming,
     Whence rays of beauty flow,
       Salt tears most oft are streaming.

     Free from emotions past,
       All joy and hope possessing,
     With mind in pureness cast,
       Sweet ignorance confessing.

     Plant, safe from winds and showers,
       Heart with soft visions glowing,
     In childhood's happy hours
       A mother's rapture showing.

     Loved by each anxious friend,
       No carking care within—
     When summer gambols end,
       My winter sports begin.

     Sweet poesy from heaven
       Around thy form is placed,
     A mother's beauty given,
       By father's thought is graced!

     Seize, then, each blissful second,
       Live, for joy sinks in night,
     And those whose tale is reckoned,
       Have had their days of light.

     Then, oh! before we part,
       The poet's blessing take,
     Ere bleeds that aged heart,
       Or child the woman make.


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